Från invandrarbyrå till flyktingmottagning : Fyrtio års arbete med invandrare och flyktingar på kommunal nivå
Sammanfattning: The dissertation investigates what happened when a new field – the incorporation of immigrants and refugees – was to be organized at the local level in Sweden. The result shows that the public authorities during the 40 year period that the study covers struggled with several questions, such as: how they should organize this, who should carry out the work, what should be done in practice, and towards which groups should it be directed? It is around these questions that the municipal work with immigrants and refugees revolved, without finding any clear and permanent answers. I analyze this in terms of four themes: responsibility, personnel and competence structure, direction of the work, and target group, which together constitute what I call the organizations’ ‘practices of incorporation’. The main aim with the dissertation is to illuminate and analyze how these practices have developed and changed from the mid 1960’s and approximately 40 years on. To accomplish this I have conducted a historical and comparative study of eight municipalities. The material comprises several different sources, from interviews with civil servants and participant observation, to archive material and secondary literature. My theoretical perspective is mainly drawn from the sociology of organizations, with a focus on the history of organizations. The analysis defines two roughly defined periods, the period of immigrant service bureaus (1965-1985) and the period of refugee reception centers (1985-2008). My study of the history of the organizations shows both the change of practice that has occurred and the stability that remains at the same time. It also shows that the transition to refugee reception centers made it necessary to redefine and renegotiate the practices of incorporation. During the first 20 years covered in this dissertation, the immigrant service bureaus developed into independent administrative agencies; they became institutionalized as organizations. The break occurred as soon as the new system for refugee reception was initiated in the mid-1980s, when the role of the social welfare offices increased considerably. In recent years there are signs that labor market units in the municipalities are strengthening their role in relation to the reception centers, but also that the social welfare offices ‘working under cover’ continue to have the main responsibility for reception centers. Criticism against the role of the social welfare offices is mostly based on the accusation that they tend to make immigrants and refugees into clients, dependent on subsidies and remaining outside the labour market. In sum, the introduction of municipal refugee reception centers ultimately led to the closing of practically all immigrant service bureaus during the 1990s. In some individual cases they have lived on, or had some of their functions included in the praxis of the refugee reception centers, but on the whole they became increasingly marginalized, and finally disappeared.
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