Geographies of Refugee settlement: Care, Citizenship, and the role of Non-state Organisations
AuthorHewitt, Thea Elizabeth
AffiliationResource Management and Geography
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2019 Thea Elizabeth Hewitt
This research examines the role and position of the diverse organisations who provide support to people from refugee backgrounds settling in Australia. Non-state organisations in similar contexts have been conceptualised in uneven ways, with previous work understanding them to be ‘filling the gaps’ left by the retraction of the state under neoliberalism, or as working as a shadows-state apparatus. This research challenges such restrictive framings. Engaging with a feminist ethic of care, the research extends geographic literatures that have shown the capacity for organisations to resist and rework repressive influences from the state. Drawing on interviews with a range of organisations across Melbourne, Australia, including community organisations, local governments, faith-based organisations, and generalist charities, the research argues that non-state organisations are indispensable within the settlement landscape in Australia. It highlights the ways in which these organisations both provide people from refugee communities with essential services and resources, and undertake bridging work that allows the state to maintain a restricted and inaccessible approach to social service delivery. It also argues that non-state organisations are active agents in the construction of an expanded citizenship for people from refugee backgrounds, that moves beyond normative and exclusionary imaginaries of Australian citizenship upheld by immigration and settlement policy. Importantly and more broadly, the research shows how a feminist ethic of care informs and shapes the practices of these organisations, offering care-full inclusion in the face of care-less approaches to migration and refugee resettlement in Australia and globally.
KeywordsGeography; Human Geography; Urban Geography; Refugee; Welfare state; Non-State Organisations; Feminist Ethic of Care; Care
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