CfP: Return migration, circular migration and social work: An emerging field of practice

An international workshop at MIM, Malmö University, 15-16 October 2015 organized by the IMISCOE Research Group: International Migration and Social Protection (IMaSP);

Convenors: ERICA RIGHARD, Malmö University, PAOLO BOCCAGNI, Trento University,
CLAUDIO BOLZMAN, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland

Return migration, a constant possibility underlying the life experience of migrants, has gained increasing visibility as a topic in itself, in recent years, due also to the persisting economic crisis in several European countries. In parallel with this development, circular migration (inside or outside of the European Union) has also emerged as an issue on the political agenda. Against this background, our workshop aims at a systematic collection of the knowledge and research available on return and circular migration in the realm of social welfare and social work. Social work is here understood in a broad and inclusive way, comprising social, economic and psychosocial forms of support and interventions as well as both governmental and non-governmental organizations at local, national and international levels. We encourage cross-national and inter-organizational comparative analyses, historical analyses as well as local case studies, with particular regard to the professional,
organizational, policy and ethical implications of social work with the individuals and groups involved in these processes: prospective returning migrants, returnees and deportees, as well as forced migrants and unaccompanied minors, family members left behind and circular migrants more broadly. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Theoretical understandings of return and circular migration in a social work perspective
  • Social welfare provision and social work practices in countries of destination and origin with return migrants before and after return migration
  • General and individual support structures in country of destination and origin for individuals and groups potentially interested in return/circular migration
  • Social work practice vis-à-vis deportation (North–South, South–South and North–North)
  • Social, economic and psychosocial support in assisted return programs (before, during and after return)
  • Inter-agency collaboration and follow-ups in social work with returnees and circular migrants
  • Potentials and limitations of transnational social work, based on practice in relation to return or circular migration

Workshop format: Each day will start with one keynote speech (tba) followed by paper presentations organized into panels with appointed discussants. Based on a selected number of papers, we expect to advance a joint publication project in the field of migration and social work.

The workshop is organized by the IMISCOE research group IMaSP and funded by IMISCOE and the Crafoord Foundation. Based on the quality of proposals and the availability of funds, partial or full funding will be granted to successful applicants.

Abstract (250 words) of paper proposals are due by July 31st, 2015. Please send your proposals to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The abstract should include a title and specify the main research question, method and findings, as well as name and affiliation of author(s). Notification of acceptance will be sent out by mid-August.

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