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Durham e-Theses
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The Management of Oppression:
Focussing on relationships between refugees and the British state in Newcastle upon Tyne

VICKERS, TOM (2010) The Management of Oppression:
Focussing on relationships between refugees and the British state in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis uses an empirically informed Marxist analysis to investigate the role of interests, consciousness and unpaid activity of refugees and asylum seekers in shaping their relationships with the British state, including case studies from the city of Newcastle upon Tyne. I argue that antagonism between the British state and refugees from economically underdeveloped countries is rooted in capitalist relations of production, with Britain occupying an imperialist position. The thesis advances a novel perspective on ‘social capital’, understood as purposive and sustained forms of non-contractual engagement, with implicit norms and values. Social capital is ‘unmasked’ as a way of understanding and intervening in relations at an individual level, in order to influence change at a social level. I argue that the tendency of recent Labour governments’ policy has been to break up social capital formations among refugees which are seen as threatening, whilst actively cultivating formations which engage refugees on an individual basis, as part of managing their oppression. The thesis identifies contradictions and possibilities for resistance within this process, such as simultaneous tendencies for volunteering to contribute to more collective forms of identity and more individualised forms of action.

The multi-level research design explores processes connecting the individual to the global. Empirical data is used to interrogate and develop a theoretical framework which is rooted in classical Marxism, draws on insights developed within qualitative social research methods and anti-oppressive practice, and engages creatively with challenges from post-modernism and feminism. The methodology combines: theoretical research; secondary statistics and literature at an international level; interviews with key participants and archival research on local histories of migration and settlement, including three organisational case studies; four contemporary organisational case studies; and individual volunteer case studies based on semi-structured interviews and focus groups with eighteen refugees and asylum seekers.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:refugees;asylum;state;marxism;imperialism;migration;social work;social capital
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Feb 2011 15:26

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