Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in Portugal

Leading researcher: Chiara Pussetti
Research group: Governance, Policies and Livelihoods
Type of project: National project
Status: Concluded
Keywords: Immigrants | Vulnerability | Risk | Public policies | Governmentality


Main institution: CRIA
Participant institutions: n.a.
Funding: FCT
Reference: PTDC/CS-ANT/101179/2008
Starting date: 01-01-10

More information: link

Abstract

In the context of the European Union, migration-related issues have become of paramount importance in recent years for governmental activity, raising the need to study, categorize and support migrant populations and to foster their integration. In order to create and expand a social care network responsible for monitoring and managing immigrants, funding has been made available, and impressive efforts have been made at both national and supra-national levels in policy development and programmes implementation. These programmes, in our perspective, revolve around what we will call the vulnerability/risk dichotomy. On the one hand, there is a representation which often links immigrants with deviance, social insecurity, social inability, and criminality, thus constituting a risk for society. On the other hand, they are also conceived as being in trouble, victims of a traumatic displacement, needy and unprotected, in a permanent state of vulnerability. This dichotomy constructs the idea that there is something inherently ‘problematic’ about being a migrant, thus requiring solutions to control ‘risk behaviours’ and to look after ‘vulnerable conditions’. The main goal of the project is thus, rather than taking for granted vulnerability and risk as a natural condition in migration, to provide a critical inquiry into the social care sector targeting migrants and promoting their integration in contemporary Portugal, providing a much needed assessment of these interventions, and witnessing – through an ethnographic analysis of several specific contexts – how these policies work in practice and how they affect migrants populations. The project will investigate how these interventions aim at building mainstream forms of citizenship and personhood, commonly resting on unexpressed ethnocentric and culture-specific moral assumptions. Consequently, we intend to document and assess the institutional, social, and cultural violence migrants have to face when the social sector intervene in their lives, mainstreaming their conducts, bodies, morality and lifestyles, underlying the contradictory calls for protection and correction present in these social policies. In this sense, we will also critically review social care policies as instruments for managing immigrant populations, producing and underwriting existing forms of ethnoracial domination. Drawing on a growing body of literature concerned with government in advanced liberalism, but making a significant contribution to it by providing much needed ethnographic data on these very processes, we propose to analyse the multiple levels on which ideas, projects and techniques have sought to influence and reshape the conduct of migrants in order to align it with the host society’s idea of social order and well-being, aiming at educating them into competent citizens, capable of governing themselves. Dealing with these “technologies of citizenship” in contemporary Portugal, we will pay close attention to the trajectory from the policy-making rationale to the development of social care institutions and practices, to the way migrants articulate these norms with their own life strategies. The project will also critically review the processes through which migrants’ non-mainstream life conditions have been acknowledged as especially troublesome, paying special attention to the issues of undocumented migration, informal economic activities, housing practices and policies, motherhood and parenthood, sex work and trafficking, and youth delinquency.

Researchers from CRIA

IDNamePositionProjTitleProject typeStatus
pub38*Chiara PussettiPrincipal Investigatorproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub134*Marta MaiaResearcherproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub138*Micol BrazzabeniResearcherproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub153*Paulo RaposoResearcherproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub227*Sílvia OlivençaResearcherproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub235*Sara TrindadeResearcherproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub50*Elizabeth ChallinorResearcherproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub93*Lorenzo BordonaroResearcherproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub266*Camila RodriguesResearch scholarproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
pub528*Pedro CerejoResearch scholarproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in PortugalNational projectConcluded
Other researchers

ResearcherPositionInstitutionProjOutrosTitulo_EN
Vítor BarrosResearcherICS-ULproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in Portugal
Alexandra OliveiraResearcherproj9*Immigrants and the social care sectors: technologies of citizenship in Portugal