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  • Author or Editor: Emilio José Gómez-Ciriano x
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Social work, both as a profession and as an academic discipline, is – at least theoretically – in a privileged position to capture the nuances of migration, given that social workers are present during the different stages of migration and asylum processes as well as at academic, practitioner and policy-making levels. However, the mere presence of social workers in the field is not necessarily a synonym of commitment and/or social transformation, as practitioners and academics may just replicate, unquestioningly, the guidelines dictated by governments and/or funding institutions or – quite the opposite – foster a critical perspective in their daily routines.

In this chapter, we reflect on the possibilities of social work research to influence migration policies, and more specifically, EU migration policies. To this end, we look at the past to get inspired by social work pioneers, but also to the future by reflecting on what is needed to raise awareness about issues that can be challenging for social work research from a critical perspective. We also reflect on the roles that academia, public institutions and organisations play by enabling or blocking this kind of research. Last but not least, we explore to what extent social work (and social work research) is present at decision-making levels.

We anticipate that social work research plays a very limited role in influencing migration policies and that it could play a much greater role in case some changes were operationalised. This chapter aims, thus, to highlight the root causes of this lack of influence and stimulate reflection that encompasses academia, organisations, institutions and individuals in making sure research is more influential in the future.

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Approaches, Visions and Challenges

With cross-cultural perspectives from contributors in nine countries, this book showcases much-needed research on current issues around migration and social work in Europe. Focusing on the reception, experiences and integration of refugees and asylum seekers, the chapters also consider the impact of recent EU policies on borders and integration.

With racism on the rise in some European societies, the book foregrounds international social work values as a common framework to face discriminatory practice at macro and micro-levels. Featuring recommendations for inclusive practice that ‘opens doors’, this book features the voices of migrants and the practitioners aiding their inclusion in new societies.

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In the epilogue, the editors of the book highlight three main points: the key themes discussed in the previous chapters through a European perspective; the intended use of the book offering more than one views for practice, education and research; a reference to the particular times of the production and publishing of the book, mentioning the new crises and challenges linked to the cOVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Lastly, the best way to complete this book is recalling the commitment, the vision and the sense of hope shared by all involved authors. From different countries and with different backgrounds, they have shown, and will show, before and after this contribution, passion, critical thinking and responsibility towards the life of migrant people and the role of social work.

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This book intends to identify the reality of migration and asylum in Europe through the lenses of the research done by social work academics from nine different countries. Along its 11 chapters a true European perspective is also provided and many questions arise regarding the role of social work research at practitioner level, at academic level and at political level.

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