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Asylum in Austere Times: Instability, Privatization and Experimentation within the UK Asylum Dispersal System

Darling, Jonathan

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Abstract

In 2010, the UK government passed contracts for the provision of dispersal accommodation and reception services for asylum seekers to three private providers. This article explores the causes and consequences of this process, arguing that dispersal has been reshaped through a confluence of ‘austerity urbanism’ and privatization. The article draws on fieldwork in four cities (Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow and Sunderland), including interviews with local authority representatives, politicians, and asylum and refugee support services. The article highlights the production of instability within asylum dispersal as an effect of austerity and privatization. As a result, we witness a narrative of political neglect, shrinking accountability and the slow recession of support services and expertise. Whilst instability has often been a common facet of asylum policy in the UK, austerity and privatization have meant that a limited concern with the social needs of asylum seekers has been replaced with an increasingly revanchist agenda.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2016
Online Publication Date Dec 26, 2016
Publication Date Dec 26, 2016
Deposit Date May 29, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 29, 2018
Journal Journal of Refugee Studies
Print ISSN 0951-6328
Electronic ISSN 1471-6925
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 4
Pages 483-505
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/few038
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1358146

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