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Reinhard Schweitzer
Research Student (Geography)
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Research

Since 2009 I have mostly been working in the field of Migration. At the centre of my research interest lies the interplay between migration policies and their local-level implementation on the one hand, and international migrants’ own perceptions, strategies and behaviours on the other, as well as the structural inequalities underlying both.

Currently I am particularly interested in the local, every-day processes of social and economic integration of migrants in irregular situations (i.e. foreign nationals who do not have formal permission to stay in the country where they nonetheless live).

My PhD research project compares the provision of mainstream public services – healthcare, education and social assistance/protection – to migrants living irregularly in London and Barcelona. I look at these fields as (potential) sites of everyday bordering and contestations thereof, but also as everyday workplaces. My aim is to highlight instances where the interest(s) and efforts of the agents of immigration control overlap and/or conflict with the interest(s) and efforts of those organisations and individuals whose job it is to administer or deliver a particular public service to local residents. The analysis thereby focuses on the level of organisational roles, like that of a receptionist, doctor, social worker, or head teacher, and distinguishes their various positions within the welfare system and vis-à-vis the respective immigration regime. The framework I develop for this analysis allows for comparisons across different fields of service provision as well as different national and local contexts. My study primarily draws on 90 semi-structured interviews I conducted in London and Barcelona (between July 2014 and October 2015) with migrants in irregular situations, providers and administrators of public services, as well as mediating actors such as NGOs and the local administration.