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Narratives of Service Provision: A Dialogical Perspective on the ‘Support’ of Asylum Seekers

By Philip Brown


This chapter focuses upon some of the narratives of housing and ‘support’\ud service provision set against the backdrop of the support of asylum seekers in\ud the United Kingdom. Since 1999 specific asylum seeker support teams have\ud been established within a number of local authorities throughout the UK\ud contracted to the Home Office to provide housing and social support to\ud destitute asylum seekers. Currently, the regions of the UK, operate within a\ud national legislative arena led by the Home Office whilst simultaneously\ud negotiating the local expectations of local ‘communities’. From this position\ud these professionals are required to fulfil a range of often seemingly conflictual\ud and contradictory roles including among others, housing provider, social carer,\ud informal immigration control and community liaison. In recent research Sales\ud and Hek (2004) have raised the issue of the tension that they perceive exists in\ud the work of these professionals with asylum seekers between the ‘care’ of\ud asylum seekers and the ‘control’ required by national legislation and policy.\ud However, rather than professionals performing a ‘balancing’ between these\ud seemingly ‘conflictual’ roles, as suggested by Sales and Hek (2004), what this\ud chapter suggests is something that resonates with the Bakhtinian notion of\ud ‘polyphony’ (Bakhtin, 1984). From this perspective the roles and duties of an\ud asylum support professional are not approached from a position where a\ud professional has to weigh up between the performance of either one role or\ud another, where an individual worker can only fulfil these caring and controlling\ud roles at separate times. Rather, it is recognised that roles and duties can be\ud deployed equally and simultaneously where professionals can be both caring\ud and at the same time controlling. What this chapter would like to suggest is\ud that such simultaneous performance of a number of roles appears to enable the\ud emergence of a seemingly unproblematic ‘multi-voiced’ worker that\ud successfully negotiates between care, control, community, integration, and\ud segregation and a variety of other positions and discourse

Topics: JV, BF
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2005
OAI identifier:

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