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Between dream and disaster: Asylum-seeking children and transitions to 'home'

Författare och institution:
Marita Eastmond (Institutionen för globala studier, socialantropologi)
Publicerad i:
Presented at Nordic Imer Symposium, Stockholm 27-28 November,
Konferensbidrag, övrigt
Sammanfattning (abstract):
The paper addresses the imaginings of ‘home’ and return of children and their parents in asylum-seeking families, in view of the two (legal) options open them: Either permanent residence in Swedem or return to the country of origin. The hope that many children, as well as their parents, nurture of being able to remain in Sweden, not least given the vast material investments already made, reinforces the dream of Sweden as ‘home’. The deeply felt hope of remaining expressed by some children also seemed to guide their behaviour: Striving to be ‘good’ and successful at school, learning the language, and supporting their parents in assisting the family to make a favourable impression on the authorities, they hoped to influence the asylum decision. Sweden as the hoped-for home is contrasted with the children’s perceptions and negative memories of the ‘home’ left behind. The violence some of the children had suffered before fleeing turned the idea of being deported there into an imagined scenario of disaster. A few of those children responded with attacks of despair, anxiety and sleeplessness as the family received their first rejection on their asylum application. Children’s struggles to ensure a ‘safe place’ – to be good at school, learn the language, support their parents, etc must be compared to the relatively little weight they carry in the asylum determination process. The analysis is based less on sedentarist notions of ‘home’ as a particular place (or a nation-state), or even a given set of social relations, but is seen in more dynamic terms. The strivings of asylum-seeking children in this study resemble the “search for ‘cool ground’” of Mursi refugees in Allen and Turton’s study (1996) : That is, a relatively safe place that would have something to offer in terms of the future. ‘Home’ in this sense challenge more passive notions of home as connected to ‘roots’ and relations of the past; rather, it represents “a sense of possibility” (Hage 1997) which, in its forward-looking quality, provides room for dreaming and imagining. The paper discusses the need for research and other systematic information on children and their families after they have been deported from Sweden.
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
Sociologi ->
Ytterligare information:
Nordic IMER conference "Childhood and Migration: Children, families, and transnational relations" Stockholm, 2009
Postens nummer:
Posten skapad:
2010-01-25 10:41
Posten ändrad:
2014-10-30 10:56

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