Access to Social Justice: the Intersection of Homelessness and Migration in Europe. A Multiple Case Study of Italy and Sweden

University essay from Lunds universitet/Rättssociologiska institutionen

Abstract: This study maps the intersection of homelessness and migration in Europe by focusing on Italy and Sweden; in the study, ‘Europe’ is defined by the Schengen Common Area Agreement, by the Common European Asylum System and by the Dublin Regulation. Using Kimberlé Crenshaw’s Intersectionality as one of its main theoretical reference points, the study argues that different dimensions of power relations may combine to create unique modes of discrimination that apply specifically to homeless migrants in Italy and Sweden. Moreover, with reference to Nancy Fraser’s Scales of Justice and the principles of Recognition and Redistribution, in order to eradicate the homelessness that different social groups suffer from, we must recognise differences and redistribute wealth more equally. Based on fieldwork among migrants, NGOs workers and professionals, all of whom are dealing with immigration procedures and homeless migrants’ (lack of) access to housing, healthcare and employment, the study finds that there are significant obstacles to social justice. In both Italy and Sweden most of the research participants became homeless upon migrating. The same migrants, in both countries, face all the harmful effects of homelessness, lack of access to healthcare and employment, which in turn drive some individuals toward addiction and substance abuse. The study main finding suggests that the absence of a permanent abode is the migrant’s gravest limitation because for those suffering of a pre-existing medical or psychological condition the situation is aggravated further. Additionally, upon becoming homeless migrants can rely solely on NGOs for support (shelter, healthcare and food).

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