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  • Author or Editor: Teresa Piacentini x
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This chapter explores processes of change and development within African migrant, asylum seeker and refugee-led associations in Glasgow from 2004 onwards.In a shift away from social capital as the dominant lens through which to describe and analyse migrant associations, this chapter turns the focus inwards, through an exploration of the internal and external factors and processes which affect the emergence and sustainability of such groups. It then shifts its focus outwards to consider the effects of changes in immigration status on associations, problematising the ‘refugee community organisation’ category. Finally it considers the effects of internal diversity on migrant, asylum seeker and refugee-led associations’ responses to the welfare needs of their members

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The chapter explains the notion of the ‘political now’ as a framework for locating how we talk about migration, both in the current conjuncture and as a historically situated site for critically engaging with ways of knowing and relating. Specifically, this chapter explores the necessity of foregrounding colonial ties and imperial legacies in migration teaching, and argues that failure to centre connections to the past to understand the present is a form of epistemic violence that risks reproducing depoliticized and de-historicized migration knowledges in the classroom. This involves acknowledging missing narratives, historical links and dominant international migration narratives and their effects in our teaching, particularly regarding racialized hierarchies in migration governance and the associated epistemic harm. Through teachable moments, case studies and research activities, this chapter provides tangible methods for connecting the political now to its colonial past. It explores what such connections mean from multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary perspectives for understanding how dominant narratives feed the immigrant imaginary and for anti-racist and anti-oppressive pedagogies. It also sets out the ethical and political implications of reproducing normative assumptions about migration and knowledge practices, emphasizing the importance of thinking about ways to avoid perpetuating these harms in our classrooms.

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This chapter introduces the key tenets of critical pedagogy and critical consciousness through the work of Paulo Freire, Henry Giroux and bell hooks. It explores notions of public pedagogy, engaged pedagogy and educated hope, emphasizing the activist, radical, decolonizing and anti-oppressive potential of critical pedagogy, as well as its immediate relevance for ways of knowing and relating in the migration-focused classroom. The chapter introduces vocabularies and concepts that shape the book, in particular, ‘doing good harm’, referring to transformation through discomfort and the disruption of established systems and beliefs, and ‘migration literacies’, referring to the need to tune into the centrality of migration governance as a form of grammar and semantic structuring of how migration is understood politically, in public opinion, in media discourse and in the classroom. It sets out three key ideas that shape the book: critical pedagogy as a necessary confrontation with neutrality and power; interrogating migration knowledge as requiring the development of specific literacies; and learning as a multifaceted, multi-sited process. It then sets out three key interventions: recognizing the political now as historically constituted; embracing discomfort as a necessary means to enact positive change and ‘do good harm’; and acknowledging the vital role of migration literacies in disrupting and transforming the learning process.

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This chapter explores how ethical considerations are intertwined with political concerns. The constant presence and messiness of politics in the world outside the classroom urges us to think critically and ethically about being political and how we engage with and practise politics within learning spaces. It explores the political dimensions of the critical classroom, knowledge production, where learning takes place and who gets access to it. It locates knowledge in the ‘culture wars’ creep into the classroom and the political imperatives that have a firm grip on migration discourse that influence the attention we give to certain political issues while ignoring others. Turning to the politics of emotions in the classroom, the chapter considers storytelling, counter-stories, witnessing and holding knowledge as ways of being political and unpacking the politics of knowing. It argues that these can dismantle limited and reductive deficit-focused frames of understanding by centring personal testimony and expertise as serious knowledge. Through case studies, it offers alternative ways to do the politics of migration in the classroom as interruptive and disruptive of the politics of inclusion and access, and to consider the university as a space of learning with and not limited to learning about.

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This chapter turns to the ethical implications and consequences of developing a critical pedagogy of migration in the political now. The chapter begins with a critical exploration of what ethics has come to mean in higher education and what this can mean when it translates to the classroom. It delves into the question of knowledge production as potentially doing epistemic violence and as a deep source of harm. It explores pedagogic ethics and questions surrounding the role of emotions, affect, problematizing safety, coping with conflict and pedagogies of discomfort. A key focus of the chapter is how we ethically manage and justify discomfort in the learning process. Within this framework, the ideas of active empathy and doing good harm are introduced and offered as a way to understand how discomfort stemming from tackling challenging topics is necessary for intellectual and ethical growth. Discomfort is therefore productive of positive change, and this chapter explores how we navigate this ethical landscape in our teaching practice. It emphasizes the transformative power of discomfort and the importance of fostering critical consciousness through an active empathy that urges us to move away from passive observance and a politics of declaration towards action-oriented responses.

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This chapter introduces the new concept of migration literacies, which builds on critical literacies, critical media literacies and racial literacy. It focuses on the need to develop a deeper, critical understanding of the visible and invisible semantic institutionalization of migration governance in migration knowledge production (both policy and scholarly). The chapter argues for migration literacies to better understand how migration governance narratives not only prescribe migration as a problem but also offer technocratic solutions. The subsequent depoliticization of governance narratives and the colonial idioms of governance and control function as tools of coloniality that sustain deep inequalities in seemingly unproblematic ways. Pedagogically, such processes are also heavily implicated in the disciplining of how we talk and learn about migration. Using problem posing, case studies and teaching activities centred on language, policy categories and metaphors, the chapter reveals ethical and political blind spots in our migration grammar. It suggests building better migration literacies as a pedagogical framework to do the work of critically examining the semantic organization and institutionalization of migration management narratives in order to help us repoliticize our disciplinary grammars.

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This chapter addresses impact in the classroom and the role of the policy–research pipeline in driving research and teaching agendas, shaping migration governance language, and producing and privileging specific knowledge. First, it explores what the search for policy-relevant ‘useful research’ about migration means in practice and for building better migration literacies. Second, it examines how to think about impact as pedagogic practice through refusal and resistance. This chapter considers practices of resistance that interrupt what and how we learn, suggesting pedagogical methods that centre social justice and push us towards thinking ‘what if’. It offers case studies, problem-posing tasks and practical activities of collaboratively developing manifesto writing between students, teachers and practitioners. The chapter critically explores and expands on approaches that offer both possibilities and rewards as mechanisms of disruption and interruption, as well as of reimagining the doing and delivery of impact. It argues that we need careful engagement with the knotty ethical and political questions of impact in our pedagogic practice and the relationalities it centres and sidelines, not just in the classroom but beyond its walls.

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Ethics, Politics and Practice in the Classroom

Migration as a taught subject is entrenched in social and political debates, with the classroom firmly framed as a site of committed social and political encounter. That means teaching migration through the prism of critical pedagogy is a political and ethical necessity.

This book invites readers to examine their own relationships with migration, ethics, politics and power. It encourages teachers, students and practitioners to think critically about their position in relation to the knowledge they both bring and gain.

With pedagogical features that provide space for reflection and discussion, this is a transformative resource in reshaping how we teach and learn about migration.

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The central focus of this final chapter is on connections: the power of establishing meaningful connections in the pursuit of transformative education and the ethics and politics of building connections. Expanding on the insights of previous chapters, it considers what connecting work can or should involve so that we achieve benefits for all when we actively foster, cultivate and nurture learning opportunities that extend beyond the confines of the classroom. It demonstrates what happens when we make that commitment to dismantling normative practices, centring the communities we serve as experts holding serious knowledge; how we manage discomfort that does good harm; and refusal as transformative resistance that can tear down problematic practices. It explores the ethical and political consequences of forging meaningful connections with communities at various points, including curriculum design, the development of course materials, supporting student projects that want to connect to communities, the implementation of connected teaching methodologies and building translocal, cross-disciplinary, cross-border connected classrooms. The chapter concludes with reflections on the ideas covered across the book, pulling together the connecting threads of this critical pedagogy of migration.

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