Comparative Research in Social Work into Migration Issues: From Local to National to International Contexts

Geisen, Thomas and Cox, Pat orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2565-4564 (2012) Comparative Research in Social Work into Migration Issues: From Local to National to International Contexts. In: 2nd European Conference for Social Work Research, March 2012, Basel, Switzerland.

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


Social work research into migration issues has developed slowly in recent years, however research on this topic is not extensive. Whereas after the first PISA study in 2000, migration has become a major focus of research in education, the range of migration-related topics within social work research re-mains small, resulting in a limited contribution to social work knowledge from migrant peoples them-selves. Given the increasing emphasis on social work as a global endeavour: for example, work by Guru (2010); Hugman et al (2010); Negi and Furman (2010); Reutlinger et al. (2010); Homfeldt et al. (2007); this apparent lack of research interest is surprising. In addition, there is very little personal and institutional continuity in empirical research in the different fields of social work and very few comparative international research studies. In social work theory migration is not widely explored or discussed; basic terms and concepts, e.g. ‘migration’ itself, are often not clear in its meaning and fit for social work theory. For social work theory and practice it is essential that some agreement on concepts and terminology can be reached concerning who is it who wants to describe them-self/themselves as a migrant person/migrant people; who might need to be described thus or ad-dressed as a migrant person and who not, for example, members of the 2nd, 3rd, … Xth generation. And also by focusing on local and national situations, it is often not so clear what meaning migration really has for social work practice and what knowledge and competences are needed to respond to migration issues. By focusing on local and national situations there is also the question, for example in migrant families: Who belongs to that family and who not? What are the geographical areas which are connected with each other by family network relations and how and for what do they work with each other? For social work there is also the question how to address not only individuals but as well migrant families and migrant communities, including also communities from which migrant peoples move. This paper focuses on social work research into migration issues for young people and presents findings from a systematic literature review. Based on this review and with reference to their own research, the authors discuss and analyze some of the difficulties in social work research into migration with young people which can be identified and what the possible contribution of international comparative research might be in developing and improving social work knowledge and practice with migrant peoples and sharing that knowledge across national and international boundaries. This paper is based on the co-operation of both authors in research, beginning in 2004.

Repository Staff Only: item control page