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Contestations of the Swedish Deportation Regime: Civil Mobilisation for and with Afghan Youth
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. (Arbetslivsvetenskap)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3442-187X
2018 (English)In: Refugee Protection and Civil Society in Europe / [ed] Margit Feischmidt, Ludger Pries and Celine Cantat, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, p. 319-351Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Sweden was the country within the EU that received the highest number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and youth in relation to the country’s population during 2015. Out of the 162,877 asylum-seekers arrived during 2015, half were children and half of the children (35,369) arrived unaccompanied. UASC possess special rights as children during the asylum process. Whereas their asylum grounds are assessed by the Migration Agency, the minors’ everyday whereabouts are under the responsibility of municipalities. Being a minor gives access to preferential treatment and rights compared to adult asylum seekers, both in terms of access to municipal services, such as healthcare, schools, housing, social support, and in terms of considerations of asylum grounds leading to residency in Sweden.

However, from 2016, austerity measures were put in place that, combined with an intensified and long-running securitisation of migration management, had serious consequences for these children and youth. Among the most imperative developments, there has been an increased suspicion of UASC’s self-declared age in the asylum process, combined with a medicalisation of age determination. The “writing up” of minors’ age has increased, thereby commonly leading to the rejection of UASC’s asylum claims and a deportation order. Due to a long processing time at the Migration Agency and in the Swedish migration courts, many youths have also turned 18 during their wait for a final case decision.

In reponse to these developments, protests have been organised and Sweden has seen a growing civil societal engagement on behalf of and together with UASC. This chapter explores civil societal engagement, both by and on behalf of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) of Afghan origin in Sweden. It focuses on the period starting after 2015, and proceeds through an analysis of the Facebook site: “Stoppa utvisningarna av afghanska ungdomar!” [Stop the deportation of Afghan youths!] [Stop deportations]. This site, initiated in the fall of 2016 quickly gathered 20,000 supporters, brought together youth from Afghanistan and Swedish civilians engaged in demanding better asylum procedures for asylum-seeking youth from Afghanistan. This paper will focus on the interconnections between civil society mobilisation and UASC mobilisation around the struggles concerning

1 I am thankful to Anna Lundberg, whose comments and suggestions on relevant theoretical frameworks have greatly contributed to the improvement of this text. I am also thankful to the editors of this book who have contributed with insightful comments to develop this text. Ingrid Eckerman, the initiator of the facebook site “Stoppa utvisningar!” has commented on a version of this text and contributed with valuable additional aspects, which were incorporated into this version, for which I am thankful.

1

securitisation, anti-deportation and amnesty2. It will particularly examine how mobilisation based on different types of agencies were mediated through social media.

To start with the paper sheds light on the emergence of social movements in Sweden. Secondly, it explores how the theoretical frameworks of “pragmatic voluntarism” and “subversive humanitarianism” contribute to problematise pro-refugee movements and how pro-refugee movements could be understood as struggles for reconfiguring hegemonic perceptions of refugees. Thirdly, it discusses the way how narrative analysis contributes to understand of these reconfigurative processes. Finally, following a brief reflection on the origins and activities of the site, the article explores the activities on this site as expressions of positions ranging from “pragmatic voluntarism” to “subversive humanitarianism”. It explores also the kind of alternative subjectivities they offer for UASC, and the kind of space they create between “exclusion” and “inclusion”. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. p. 319-351
Keywords [en]
migration, asylum, civil society, facebook, unaccompanied asylum seeking youth, afghan youth
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-42279DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-92741-1_12Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85063638184ISBN: 978-3-319-92741-1 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-42279DiVA, id: diva2:1275516
Available from: 2019-01-06 Created: 2019-01-06 Last updated: 2019-06-03Bibliographically approved

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