The Book

Refugees, Capitalism and the British State:

Implications for social workers, volunteers and activists

Today, in a period of economic crisis, public sector cuts and escalating class struggle, Marxism offers important tools for social workers and service users to understand the structures of oppression they face and devise effective means of resistance. This book uses Marxism’s lost insights and reinterprets them in the current context by focussing on one particular section of the international working class – refugees and asylum seekers in Britain.

Vickers’ analysis demonstrates the general utility of a Marxist approach, enabling an exploration of the interplay between state policies, how these are experienced by their subjects, and how conflicts are mediated. The substantive focus of the book is twofold: to analyse the material basis of the oppression of refugees in Britain by the British state; and to examine the means by which the British state has ‘managed’ this oppression through the cultivation of a ‘refugee relations industry’, within a broader narrative of ‘social capital building’.

These questions demand answers if social workers and other practitioners are to successfully work with refugees and asylum seekers, and this book provides these through a detailed Marxist analysis.

You can follow the links above to reviews, sample pages, an accompanying pamphlet and other material, order the book direct from the publisher here, or from Amazon or a range of other retailers online.

Below you can listen to a talk I gave at the Durham launch of the book in November 2012:

Here are what some of the reviews have been saying:

‘This is an informed and trenchant analysis of the role of the British state in shaping the experiences of refugees…it is indispensable reading for those interested in a deeper understanding of the changing position of refugees in contemporary societies.’ Professor John Solomos, City University London

‘Vickers’s own long-term research with refugee communities and organisations makes important conclusions regarding the current welfare economy which go beyond the asylum arena…The testimonies of those individuals who support themselves and their communities in these ways are powerful stories in this book, further underlining the failure of the British state to act with the same humanity.’ Debra Hayes, British Journal of Social Work

‘Tom Vickers’ book is academic and therefore expensively out of the reach of most readers, but it includes important lessons we need to hear.’ Peter Richardson, Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network

‘The distinctiveness of the book is not just its explicit Marxist stance and methodology (contained in the Appendix), but its ability to go beyond the mainstream literature on asylum seekers which remains largely descriptive.’ Dr Surinder Guru, Critical Social Policy

‘There can be few more powerful illustrations that working class solidarity with the most oppressed sections of society is the only foundation on which to build a defence against attacks on the working class as a whole. This book is a highly recommended read.’ Susan Davidson, Revolutionary Communist Group

‘Illuminated by rich local case material, this will be thought-provoking for a wide range of professional workers, not just advocates for refugees.’ Professor Gary Craig, Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation

’This is a book all anti-racist practitioners and students ought to read.’ Professor Lena Dominelli, Durham University

Read the rest of the reviews here.


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