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Conditional Belonging: Listening to Unaccompanied Young Refugees’ Voices
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores negotiations of belonging among unaccompanied young refugees in Sweden. The thesis further aims to shed light on methodological aspects of bringing out their voices. The analysis draws on postcolonial and poststructuralist approaches to belonging and relates belonging to the concepts of home, place, racialization and notions of “Swedishness”.

The thesis analyses qualitative interviews with 17 young people, who arrived in Sweden as unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors and have been granted permanent residency. The interviews are complemented with walk-alongs and photography-based interviews.

Paper 1 gives an overview and discussion of research on unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors. I argue that there is a lack of their voices in the research, and that their own agency and perspectives are not addressed due to a focus on vulnerability and emotional health (or lack thereof). Paper II, which is delimited to participants in a rural village, shows that they negotiate belonging and a sense of home related to places but that othering is constraining. In paper II and III I suggest that the participants’ belongings and position in Sweden can be understood as conditional due to othering and racialization. In paper III, I argue that expressing gratitude can be understood as a form of impression management and, thus be a strategy to negotiate their position in the interview setting as in the host country.

I finally argue that in order to understand the participants’ negotiations of belonging attention has to be paid to their agency as well as the conditioning of belonging in discourses and in interactions on the local level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 92 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 93
Keyword [en]
unaccompanied refugee minors, belonging, home, place, racialization, negotiation, gratitude, young age, qualitative methods, sociological listening
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-216417ISBN: 978-91-554-8859-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-216417DiVA: diva2:689776
Public defence
2014-03-07, Sal IX, Universitetshuset, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-02-13 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-04-29
List of papers
1. Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children: Whose perspective?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children: Whose perspective?
2012 (English)In: Childhood, ISSN 0907-5682, E-ISSN 1461-7013, Vol. 19, no 4, 495-507 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent years have seen increasing attention being paid to unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. This article provides an overview of research in the field and its implications for an understanding of these children as a particularly vulnerable category. The existing research focuses primarily on investigating the children’s emotional well-being from psychiatric and medical perspectives. Moreover, in these studies such emotional problems tend to be linked to previous and current traumatic experiences, in particular separation from their parents. By contrast, this article suggests that a critical need exists for research on unaccompanied children’s life situations based upon exploration of their own perspectives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2012
Keyword
Agency, emotional health, migration, unaccompanied children, vulnerability
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-186791 (URN)10.1177/0907568211429625 (DOI)000311478300007 ()
Available from: 2012-11-30 Created: 2012-11-29 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Landing in a rural village: Home and belonging from the perspectives of unaccompanied young refugees
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Landing in a rural village: Home and belonging from the perspectives of unaccompanied young refugees
(English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This article explores how unaccompanied young refugees living in a rural village in Sweden make sense of home and belonging. From a poststructuralist approach, belonging and home are understood as ongoing processes that are negotiated with others, and in processes of othering and racialization. The article demonstrates that the form of housing available, together with their experiences of social exclusion in the village may contribute to othering, and thus challenge their feelings of home and belonging. However, they do construct some kinds of belonging and feelings of home based on social relationships and places they may have access to.

Keyword
belonging, home, negotiation, unaccompanied refugee minors, rural, qualitative methods
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-216412 (URN)
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-04-29Bibliographically approved
3. Managing a conditional position in Sweden: Unaccompanied young refugees’ presentations of self in relation to racism, discrimination and gratitude 
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing a conditional position in Sweden: Unaccompanied young refugees’ presentations of self in relation to racism, discrimination and gratitude 
(English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

The article investigates the ways in which the unaccompanied young refugees talk – or do not talk – about racism and discrimination during the interviews using Goffman’s presentation of self. Qualitative interviews are seen as process where meaning is produced through interaction. The analysis shows that the young people use a range of different strategies such as expressing gratitude, questioning negative stereotypes, minimizing the impact of racism or by presenting themselves as subjected to racism. The article suggests that it may be a challenge to investigate the effects of racism and discrimination in interviews with people who may be subjected to it.

Keyword
unaccompanied refugee children, presentation of self, stigma, racism, gratitude
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-216414 (URN)
Available from: 2014-01-21 Created: 2014-01-21 Last updated: 2014-04-29Bibliographically approved

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