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Moral economy from above and below: contesting contraction of migrant rights in austerity Britain

Morris, Lydia (2021) 'Moral economy from above and below: contesting contraction of migrant rights in austerity Britain.' Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (7). pp. 1686-1703. ISSN 1369-183X

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In 2010, Britain’s newly elected Coalition government ushered in a ‘moral mission’ of welfare reform. This paper considers its extension to the management of non-EEA migration and asylum, viewed here in the context of Fassin’s conception of moral economy and related debate. The paper argues that the ensuing policy regime can be analysed as a moral economy ‘from above’, in terms of its underlying objectives and rationale, which is then challenged and contested ‘from below’ through the intervention of civic activists. Such contestation is framed in terms of a three-pronged critique of the welfare/migration complex, based on rationality, legality and morality, and examined in three key areas of welfare-related policy change – family life, maintenance provision for asylum seekers, and support for those without status. Policy in each area is considered alongside corresponding critique and with summary comment on key points for moral economy analysis. A fourth section sets these developments in the context of an emergent system of total control, and the conclusion reflects on broader implications for our understanding and usage of the notion of moral economy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: moral economy; civic activism; welfare; migration; asylum
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2018 15:27
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:55

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