Understandings of self through the category of the 'unaccompanied asylum-seeking minor': a Danish ethnography – Københavns Universitet

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Institut for Antropologi > Forskning > Publikationsomtaler > Understandings of self...

04. september 2017

Understandings of self through the category of the 'unaccompanied asylum-seeking minor': a Danish ethnography

PhD student Andrea Verdasco has contributed to the Barn Special Issue on Children, Immigration and Integration with her article 'Understandings of self through the category of the 'unaccompanied asylum-seeking minor': a Danish ethnography'.

The article explores and unfolds the category of the 'unaccompanied asylum-seeking minor' in Denmark. By studying the notions that are embedded in the category, namely age and childhood, Andrea Verdasco analyses, through the narratives of the young refugees, what it means for both their sense of self and for their everyday lives to belong to, or to be excluded from, ascribed asylum categories, while finding themselves in complex situations of uncertainty. Using ethnographic material gathered during the refugee crisis of 2015-2016, the article shows that the young refugees' narratives point to contradictions in their understandings of the 'self', which are linked respectively to the notions of chronological age, upheld by the asylum system, and relational age operating within the context of their family relations. Andrea Verdasco further describes the changes that take place when a young refugee's status changes from minor to adult. Finally, she suggests how these changes may be linked to contemporary Western and welfare-related notions of childhood. The findings suggest that a relational approach that goes beyond the fixity of categories in the asylum and refugee system allows for a better understanding of the young people's situation and sense of self.

Andrea Verdasco, 'Understandings of self through the category of the 'unaccompanied asylum-seeking minor': a Danish ethnography' in Barn: Special Issue on Children, Immigration and Integration, vol.: 2-3 (2017).