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Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk

On-line version ISSN 2312-7198
Print version ISSN 0037-8054


HOLSCHER, Dorothee. Subjectivities of survival: Conceptualising just responses to displacement, cross-border migration and structural violence in South Africa. Social work (Stellenbosch. Online) [online]. 2016, vol.52, n.1, pp.54-72. ISSN 2312-7198.

This article considers the implications for social work of displacement, migration and structural violence in urban South Africa. To this end, I explore the life stories of five cross-border migrants. I find that all five form part of South Africa's larger pool of surplus populations but face additional, citizenship-based forms of exclusion. Even though generally self-reliant, all of them experienced cumulative agency constraints and felt vulnerable. Against this background, I propose that current, refugee-centred services should be expanded and that interventions should be carefully balanced to attend to structural issues, inter-group conflict and the range of vulnerabilities articulated by cross-border migrants.

Keywords : Agency; Justice; Life Story Research; Relative Surplus Populations; Social Policy and Services.

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