‘We Shouldn’t but We Do …’: Framing the Strategies for Helping Homeless EU migrants in Copenhagen and Dublin


Municipal and voluntary organisations providing services for the growing numbers of homeless EU migrants are faced with many inconsistencies and contradictions in these migrants’ legal situation and their access to services. To see how official policies are realised in everyday practice, sixteen interviews have been conducted in Copenhagen and Dublin with various representatives of organisations that support homeless EU migrants. A typology of strategies and practices used by the staff for dealing with those situations emerged from the interviews. An analysis has been conducted to trace the interpretive frames that enable social workers to make sense of their actions and express their values. In Copenhagen, the dominant ‘migrant worker’ frame embraces official policy, and shifts the responsibility on the migrant, but is often supplemented by the ‘exceptional humanitarianism’ frame that allows staff to express their professional values. In Dublin, a large programme devised especially for migrants but focused on efficiency, makes the ‘undisciplined deviant’ frame the most common, while leaving many of the staff frustrated. These findings pose interesting questions regarding whether new policies and services for migrants should not only be more inclusive and personalised, but also take social workers’ responses into consideration.

Source: The British Journal of Social Work, first published online May 12, 2014

Author(s):Magdalena Mostowska
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Publication Date:12 May 2014
Geographic Focus:null
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