conflict & communication online, Vol. 21, No. 2, 2022
ISSN 1618-0747




Tanja Kleibl & Nikos Xypolytas
Oppression or liberation? The function of social work in migration management

Drawing on the work of Antonio Gramsci and liberation scholars from Latin America, this article examines the role of social work, as both an academic discipline and a practice, in the context of the recent refugee crisis. This role mirrors the historical development of social work and is further highlighted by recent empirical studies of refugee experiences on Greek islands. The authors call for an active political coalition between social work practitioners and refugees, with the aim of empowering the latter in their quest for liberation from the regime of European refugee management.


  englischer Volltext  


The authors:

Tanja Kleibl is currently Professor of Social Work, Migration and Diversity at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt (FHWS), Germany, and a research associate at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the director of the Master’s Programme “International Social Work with Refugees and Migrants” and a founding member of the research-policy-practice network “Migration and Social Transformation”. Her research and teaching promote knowledge and debate about discourses and practices of (post-)development, migration and mobility, civil society as well as governance from post-colonial perspectives. Her emphasis is on social development and social work in the Global South, whilst applying a political economy lens to research on divisions, differences and contestation in the Global North. She brings together more than 15 years of extensive research and practical experience in the areas of development cooperation and migration, which have contributed to her critical understanding of structures of inequality, globalization and economic exploitation.

Nikos Xypolytas was born in 1979 in Athens and works as an Assistant Professor at the University of the Aegean, where he specializes in migration and labor studies. He studied Sociology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (2001-2004) and received his Masters from the University of Oxford (2005) in Economic Sociology. He completed his PhD in Greece at Panteion University (2012) and studied the consequences of migrant domestic work on the familial and social relationships of migrants. He teaches Sociology of Migration at the University of the Aegean, and his academic focus is on the reproduction of migrant labor. His recent research activity looks at refugees’ long processes of marginalization, which undermine their future social positions in host countries.