PAR: Resistance to racist migration policies in the UK

Erel, Umut; Kaptani, Erene; O'Neill, Maggie and Reynolds, Tracey (2022). PAR: Resistance to racist migration policies in the UK. In: Bacal Roij, Azril ed. Transformative Research and Higher Education. London: Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 93–106.



In this chapter we share research findings from our collaborative research project ‘PASAR: Participatory Arts and Social Action in Research’ (, which combines participatory action research methods of participatory theatre and walking methods in order to understand the way in which racialized migrant women challenge their exclusion and subjugation in the context of the UK. The situation of migrant families in the UK is currently characterized by the ‘hostile environment’ policies. This policy ‘is a sprawling web of immigration controls embedded in the heart of our public services and communities. The Government requires employers, landlords, private sector workers, NHS staff and other public servants to check a person’s immigration status before they can offer them a job, housing, healthcare or other support.’ (Liberty 2018:5). The currently hegemonic political discourse, views migrants as outsiders to the nation and challenges their right to access welfare. Migrant families are cast as outsiders to citizenship, challenging the social and cultural cohesion of the nation. Indeed, UK immigration policies render it difficult for migrant families to secure their social and economic reproduction. Against this backdrop, the research explores how racialized migrant families develop their subjugated knowledges to claim belonging and participate in the society they live in. In this presentation, we share the key methodological findings, challenges and benefits of working with a PAR approach for co-producing transformatory knowledge with migrant families and advocacy organizations.
In line with the aims of this book, we reflect on the transformatory potential of research and knowledge for the common good through ‘alternative collaborative system of co-researchers and co-learners engaged in dialogue with civil society and social movements’ (Bacal, Introduction p. 1, see also Andersen and Frandsen, this volume).

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