Policy Press

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The dispersal and social exclusion of asylum seekers

Between liminality and belonging

By Patricia Hynes


Mar 9, 2011

Page count

240 pages




240 x 172 mm


Policy Press
The dispersal and social exclusion of asylum seekers

This book establishes asylum seekers as a socially excluded group, investigating the policy of dispersing asylum seekers across the UK and providing an overview of historic and contemporary dispersal systems. It is the first book to seek to understand how asylum seekers experience the dispersal system and the impact this has on their lives. The author argues that deterrent asylum policies increase the sense of liminality experienced by individuals, challenges assumptions that asylum seekers should be socially excluded until receipt of refugee status and illustrates how they create their own sense of 'belonging' in the absence of official recognition. Academics, students, policy-makers and practitioners would all benefit from reading this book. 

"This book provides a vivid account of the experience of asylum seekers in the dispersal system. In documenting its exclusionary impact, it provides a powerful critique of current policies which will be of interest to all those concerned with migration and human rights." Rosemary Sales, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy, Middlesex University, UK

"Few pieces of research illustrate so dramatically the disastrous consequences of policies that are constructed without reference to those they are meant to benefit and furthermore, that these consequences seem to have been intentional. Patricia Hynes' valuable study is a strong testimony to the human spirit of those refugees who, despite all, have overcome adversity." Barbara Harrell-Bond, OBE, Founder of Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK

Patricia Hynes is a senior research officer at the NSPCC, conducting research on the trafficking of children and young people in the UK. She has a practitioner background, having worked in refugee camps in Southeast Asia and with refugee community organisations within the UK. Her published works to date include papers on refugee, internally displaced and asylum issues, particularly in relation to issues around trust.

Social exclusion and refugees; Key terms and concepts; Dispersal; The evolution and geography of dispersal; The process and experience of dispersal; Access to services; Social networks and belonging; Conclusions.