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Child or adult? Controversial technology to assess the age of an asylum seeker

Research project
Active research
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

Short description

How to determine whether or not an unaccompanied asylum seeker´s claim about age is true or false has been a vivid topic of discussion in Sweden during the last years. When the request for medical age assessment increased and the Swedish Paediatric Society advised its members to not participate in the current methods, the Swedish Government instructed a so called expert authority to develop a new technology for medical age assessment. Since the implementation of the new technology, in March 2017, the evidence-base of it has been widely debated. A controversy between different experts has been played out openly and the Swedish Migration Agency is under pressure to make efficient, yet evidence-based, decisions before the “actual children” turn 18.

By combining insights from STS with studies of the social construction of children and age demarcations, this project focuses on the judicial demarcation between children and adults, in the case of unaccompanied asylum seekers in Sweden.