Inequality, Migration and Global Justice – Challenges in Social Work Practice
A qualitative research about the effects of circular migration on improving access to opportunities
The topic of inequality has received considerable attention recently, in both the academic as well as the popular discourse. There is, however, no single, commonly accepted definition of inequality. Moreover, the concept of inequality is subject to a number of global issues and trends which affect the perception of inequality, both as an abstract concept as well as an empirically observable phenomenon.
The key objectives of this research were therefore to: i) contribute to an improved understanding of inequality in general and inequality of opportunities in particular; ii) explore the interrelations between inequality and some of the key influencing factors frequently highlighted in research, namely migration and global justice; and iii) propose practical approaches for Social Work practice on how to address issues related to inequality of opportunities.
Following an explorative approach, this research first consulted theoretical reference that supported the formulation of the final research questions. The second phase of the research followed a qualitative approach based on the Grounded Theory concept. The data was gathered by means of open guideline-based interviews with eight individuals that participated in programs operating at the interface of inequality of opportunity and circular migration.
The analysis of the extensive data gathered confirmed the interrelations of global justice and unequal access to opportunities. Additionally, the results confirmed that circular migration was considered as a strategy to overcome inequality of opportunities, such as limited access to education and job opportunities as well as gender, age or ethnicity related restrictions. In order to address these issues, the research findings suggest that the Social Work profession should actively participate in the endeavors to work towards global justice and advocate on all levels of national and international policy. The profession should further engage in global networks which address inequality of opportunity by means of circular migration. Such networks appear equally suitable to strengthen mutual understanding across borders as well as justice within local, regional and international communities. With regards to the actual frameworks for Social Work practice in this particular field of action, it is recommended that the Capability Approach be applied as a practical concept which allows for the consideration of the unique circumstances of individuals and seeks to empower Capabilities rather than Functionings.