Precarious migration: unpacking categories, unpacking myths
This lecture will explore the sociological dimensions of different forms of precarious migration in the UK context. It will address issues and debates surrounding the categories of 'forced' vs 'voluntary' migration, ‘trafficking’, ‘illegality’, ‘modern slavery’ and ‘asylum seeking’ and add nuance to the fixed boundaries often erected between them. We will discuss the process of categorisation and how different categories impact upon migrants’ social status, access to rights, resources, and protection in the UK. Taking the longer view of the migration journey, we highlight how and why people can move between categories. We then turn to reflect upon how migrants understand their own situation by exploring a case study of Vietnamese migrants in the UK. We explore how a qualitative sociological insight enables us to gain insight into migrant subjectivity by unpacking the multiple contradictions between migrants’ experiences and meaning-making and those of 'host' societies and institutions.