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Navigating the Higher Education Border: Routes to Belonging for Forced Migrant Students in the UK and Sweden.

Murray, R E (2018) Navigating the Higher Education Border: Routes to Belonging for Forced Migrant Students in the UK and Sweden. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates the impact of managed migration policy and practice on forced migrants’ access to, and participation, in higher education. ‘Forced migrant’ is used as a broad non-legal term, which includes individuals with ‘settled’ and ‘unsettled’ claims for asylum. In Western Europe, the perceived influx of forced migrants has reinforced the hostile environment encountered by those whose experiences are characterised by exclusion and limbo. The distinct marginalisation imposed upon forced migrants within civil society is replicated within higher education. Forced migrants with unsettled immigration status are categorised as international students, rendering them ineligible for student funding. Yet, in spite of seemingly insurmountable challenges, it is often central to their aspirations and pursuit to belong in the destination country. This research draws on Foucauldian governmentality, Giddens theory of structuration and Bourdieu’s model of habitus and capital to explore the relationship between forced migration and higher education at different societal scales. This thesis investigates state-led governance, institutional university-level practice and the actions and impact of individuals – agents who work within higher education and forced migrants. A cross-national country comparison between the UK and Sweden, across six university sites, facilitated analysis of locally specific practices and their potential for extrapolation to the European and global level. This thesis responds to a palpable lack of research and data documenting forced migrants’ aspirations and participation in higher education, expanding our knowledge of this area and contributing to empirical and theoretical debates around key themes of displacement, limbo, and belonging. The invisibility of this group and the deficits in forced migrants’ capital contribute to the construction of the ‘higher education border’: wherein state-led managed migration policies of exclusion are enacted, as well as resisted. This thesis interrogates whether British (Article 26 scholarships) and Swedish (intensive language programmes such as Korta Vagen) initiatives targeting forced migrants perpetuate the higher education border and its inherent inequalities or achieve valuable incremental change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.752603
Depositing User: Dr R E Murray
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2018 09:57
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2020 10:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21275

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