Migration Perspectives in Social Work Research: Local, National and International Contexts

Cox, Pat orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2565-4564 and Geisen, T. (2014) Migration Perspectives in Social Work Research: Local, National and International Contexts. British Journal of Social Work Special Issue 'A World on the Move: Migration, Mobilities and Social Work, 44 (sup 1). i157-i173. ISSN 0045-3102

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcu044


Within social work, it is often assumed that migration is a signifier for social deprivation; however, closer examination of migrant populations in different European countries reveals tremendous heterogeneity. For example, recent migration patterns in Germany, Switzerland and the UK show that inward migration is characterised also by highly qualified migrant peoples. Against this background, the question arises as to what are the relevant issues which make migration a question for social work and what subjects should be addressed in social work research? This paper begins with conceptual considerations on the complexity of migration. Examining examples of social work research into migration, children and young people in the English and German languages from a cross-national systematic review, undertaken by the authors and spanning 2000–13, the authors identify the main foci of social work migration research thus far. Findings from the selected studies demonstrate a paucity and generality of social work research into migration and that the predominant focus is migration as a challenge for certain groups of migrant peoples, such as people seeking refuge or asylum. The authors argue that changes to practices in social work migration research, incorporating local, regional and international perspectives, are needed

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