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Challenging the deportation regime: reflections on the research encounter with undocumented refugee children in Sweden

Journal article
Authors Åsa Wahlström Smith
Published in Children's Geographies
ISSN 14733285
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Keywords co-production, creative methods, digital stories, political agency, Undocumented refugee children
Subject categories Social Anthropology, Globalization Studies, International Migration and Ethnic Relations


© 2020, © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article examines the researcher’s potential role and responsibility to facilitate undocumented refugee children’s political voice and participation. The paper raises issues of the social status and position scholars give to children in research and epistemological concerns regarding the co-production of children’s political assertions in the research encounter. Based on anthropological and participatory research with undocumented refugee children, the article shows that children were often withholding their suffering from family members and it was novel for children to talk openly about their situations with the researcher. However, as trusting relationships developed, children came to formulate and express a social critique of their undocumented situations. Based on children’s accounts, the research project engaged with a range of public actors to promote critical dialogue around these children and contribute to societal practice. It is argued that children’s lived rights and politics are properly acknowledged when researchers facilitate children’s political engagements.

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