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The Biopolitics of Asylum Seeker Housing Provision in the United Kingdom: The COMPASS Asylum Housing Project and the Securitisation of Home

Hirschler, Steven (2015) The Biopolitics of Asylum Seeker Housing Provision in the United Kingdom: The COMPASS Asylum Housing Project and the Securitisation of Home. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis uses data gathered from twenty-six semi-structured interviews with asylum seekers and eighteen area support workers and volunteers in three UK dispersal regions – Glasgow, Yorkshire and Humber, and the North East of England – to explore residents’ perceptions of their housing and community experiences under the Home Office’s ‘COMPASS’ project. Through individual accounts with refugee and asylum support service staff, I highlight specific housing conditions ranging from the quality of housing to respondents’ perceptions of safety and community inclusion. For those who experienced moves during the transitional period between contracts, I gather observational accounts of the practical, psychological and physical effects of being moved, which include the management of children moving schools or residents being placed further away from shopping facilities, support services and health care practices. The empirical research is situated within a historical account of British immigration policy dating back to the twelfth century and a theoretical framework of Foucault’s biopower and the expansion of Deleuze’s ‘society of control’. Attempting to distance this research from alternative theories of biopower, such as that of Agamben and Hardt and Negri, which I argue conflate biopolitical and sovereign methods of control, I demonstrate the resistive capacity of asylum seekers through their engagement with support agencies or their individual decisions to disengage their contact with housing provider representatives. Through an analysis of interview responses using purposive coding methods, I assess the extent to which current UK housing practices represent a deliberate policy of ‘deterrence’ and the degree to which contracts with multinational private security firms reflect a neoliberal strategy of privatisation and market creation concurrent with state aims toward population management and control.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Politics (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.669641
Depositing User: Mr Steven Hirschler
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2015 11:20
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:33
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10650

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