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Publication Detail
Social reproduction in the shadows: Migrant mothers and children with “no recourse to public funds”
  • Publication Type:
    Conference presentation
  • Authors:
    Rosen R, Dickson E
  • Date:
  • Name of Conference:
    Special panel: Breaking the Borders of Home: Transformations of Care and Reproductive Work at Borders, borderlands and bordering: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2021
  • Conference place:
In the United Kingdom (UK), migrants ‘subject to immigration control’ are not allowed to access most welfare benefits or social housing. This policy was officially incorporated into the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 under the moniker ‘no recourse to public funds (NRPF)’. Since July 2012, in the context of the state’s publicly proclaimed ‘hostile environment’ towards people on the move, the use of the NRPF condition has been extended to long-resident families with legally recognized, but temporary, immigration status, as well as undocumented migrants. Drawing on data from a ‘day in the life’ ethnographic study with single mothers with NRPF and their children, in this paper we argue that NRPF can be understood as a form of “organized state abandonment” (Gilmore 2007). By denying these mothers and children support and benefits necessary for their survival, the effects of British state policy are enforced debt and destitution for working class families with origins in Britain’s erstwhile colonial empire. In this paper, we explore the implications for social reproductive labour, pointing to the ways that such abandonment forsakes migrant mothers and children, leaving them to sustain themselves in the shadows of the austere state. This produces the conditions of super-exploitability in care and provisioning and deepens the material and ideological stratification of social reproductive labour through the production of (formally included) surplus populations.
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