Addressing needs in a liminal space: the citizen volunteer experience and decision-making in the unofficial Calais migrant camp – insights for social work

Anghel, Roxana and Grierson, Jeffrey (2020) Addressing needs in a liminal space: the citizen volunteer experience and decision-making in the unofficial Calais migrant camp – insights for social work. European Journal of Social Work, 23 (3). pp. 486-499. ISSN 1468-2664

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691457.2019.1709158

Abstract

This paper examines transferable knowledge from the work of citizen volunteers addressing migrant needs in Europe, relevant to social work with migrants at border hotspots. The discussion is based on a case study conducted in the unofficial Calais camp in June 2016, which included semi-structured interviews with long-term volunteers; participant observation; and field and reflective notes. The inductive analysis examined volunteer experience, and mechanisms and values underpinning their decision-making at critical moments in the camp’s history. Starting from the observation that the circumstances at the border were a liminal, ‘in-between’, space (Turner, 1969) in which migrants lived in limbo between leaving and arriving, and between cultures, life styles, and identities, we examined the implications for workers who experienced this environment by proxy, and how they developed a service infrastructure in these conditions. A horizontal, contribution working model emerged in the context of a strong bond between workers, shared human experience with camp residents, and powerful intrinsic motivation informed by a sense of duty to care. Implications for social work are discussed in the context of the profession’s search for clarity of its role in addressing grand global challenges, including forced migration.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Calais migrant camp, liminality, citizen volunteers, decision-making, social work at the borders
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2020 10:28
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2021 02:02
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/705181

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