‘I Am Going to Europe Tomorrow’:

Open access

Abstract

The term ‘anchor child’ implicates that, to create future homes in another country, parents supposedly use their children by sending them on a mission as ‘unaccompanied minors’. Since the term is sometimes used in public debate, our aim is to use elements of this stereotype to analyse and contrast it to the young people’s own narratives. Through repeated interviews and observations with 23 unaccompanied children living in Sweden over the course of one year, this article provides complex narratives of the decision to escape, the rationality of the escape plan and the ways in which the young people reflect on possible future reunion with their families. Results show that their flight and its outcome is related to the young people’s agency during a struggle for survival affected by current political and social contexts, making the tendency to interpret the children’s situation through a ‘Western’ nuclear family rationality highly problematic.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Agar M 1980 The professional stranger: an informal introduction to ethnography Academic Press New York.

  • Beek M & Schofield G 2004 Providing a secure base in long-term foster care British Association for Adoption and Fostering London.

  • Burman E 2007 Deconstructing developmental psychology Routledge London.

  • Butler J 2009 Frames of war: when is life grievable? Verso New York.

  • Derluyn I & Broekaert E 2007 ‘Different perspectives on emotional and behavioural problems in unaccompanied refugee children and adolescents’ Ethnicity & Health vol. 12 no. 2 pp. 141-162.

  • Fraser N 2000 ‘Rethinking recognitionNew Left Review vol. 3 pp. 107-120.

  • Groark C Sclare I & Raval H 2011 ‘Understanding the experiences and emotional needs of unaccompanied asylum-seeking adolescents in the UK’ Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry vol. 16 no. 3 pp. 421-442.

  • Hall S (ed.) 1997 Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices Sage in Association with the Open University London.

  • Herz M & Lalander P 2017 ‘Being alone or becoming lonely? The complexity of portraying ‘unaccompanied children’ as being alone in Sweden’ Journal of Youth Studies DOI:10.1080/13676261.2017.1306037.

  • Integrationsverket 2003 Ensamkommande barn - organisation och samverkan kring arbetet med introduktion - en uppföljning i åtta kommuner år 2002 Integrationsverket Norrköping.

  • Jones W & Teytelboym A 2016 ‘Choices preferences and priorities in a matching system for refugees’ Forced Migration Review vol. 51 pp. 80-82.

  • Kaukko M & Wernesjö U 2016 ‘Belonging and participation in liminality: unaccompanied children in Finland and Sweden’ Childhood vol. 24 no. 1 pp. 7-20.

  • Kohli R 2006 ‘The sound of silence: listening to what unaccompanied asylum-seeking children say and do not say’ British Journal of Social Work vol. 36 no. 5 pp. 707-721.

  • Lalander P 2015 ‘Observationer och etnografi’ in Handbok i kvalitativa metoder ed G Ahrne & P Svensson Liber Stockholm pp. 93-113.

  • Lalander P & Raoof D 2017 “Vi vet vad du behöver”: Konstruktion och motstånd av “ensamkommande” på HVB Socialvetenskaplig Tidskrift vol. 3 no. 4 pp. 219-238.

  • Lederer J 2013 ‘“Anchor baby”: a conceptual explanation for pejoration’ Journal of Pragmatics vol. 57 pp. 248-266 DOI:10.1016/j.pragma.2013.08.007.

  • Lundberg A 2011 ‘The best interests of the child principle in Swedish asylum cases: the marginalization of children’s rights’ Journal of Human Rights Practice vol. 3 no. 1 pp. 49-70. DOI:10.1093/jhuman/hur002

  • Marlowe JM 2010 ‘Beyond the discourse of trauma: shifting the focus on Sudanese refugees’ Journal of Refugee Studies vol. 23 no. 2 pp. 183-198.

  • Mattsson T 2010 Rätten till familj inom barn- och ungdomsvärden Liber Malmö.

  • Migrationsverket 2018. Om ensamkommande barn och ungdomar. Stockholm: Migrationsverket.

  • Regeringen 2015 Överenskommelse med anledning av flyktingkrisen Regeringskansliet Stockholm.

  • Schiratzki J 2000 ‘The best interests of the child in the Swedish Aliens Act’ International Journal of Law Policy and the Family vol. 14 no. 3 pp. 206-225.

  • Stretmo L 2010 ‘Bilder av de ensamkommande barnen’ in Mellan det förflutna och framtiden. Asylsökande barns välfärd hälsa och välbefinnande eds. HE Andersson H Ascher U Björnberg & M Eastmond Centrum för Europaforskning Göteborg. pp. 245-278.

  • Stretmo L 2014 Governing the unaccompanied child. Media policy and practice Göteborgs Universitet Göteborg.

  • Sveriges Television 2012 Ankarbarn en myt Retrieved February 17 2016 Available from: <http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/skane/ankarbarn-en-myt>.

  • Werner-Lin A Biank NM & Rubenstein B 2010 ‘There’s no place like home: preparing children for geographical and relational attachment disruptions following parental death to cancer’ Clinical Social Work Journal vol. 38 no. 1 pp. 132-143.

  • Wernesjö U 2011 ‘Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children: whose perspective?’ Childhood vol. 19 no. 4 pp. 495-507.

Search
Journal information
Cited By
Metrics
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 448 325 14
PDF Downloads 200 137 4