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Social capital and empowerment in asylumseeking children in Sweden

Conference contribution
Authors Ulla Björnberg
Mirzet Tursunovic
Published in Konferens Childhood and migration June 2008 Drexel University Philadelphia
Publication year 2008
Published at Department of Sociology
Centre for European Research (CERGU)
Language en
Keywords children, familiesy, asylum
Subject categories Social Sciences, Sociology


A large bulk of research has suggested that social networks are important resources for children as well as for adults to resist health problems. For asylum seeking children social networking might be hard to accomplish due to constraints linked to social and legal contexts in the host country. Constraints can also be linked to the family situation and the circumstances that they have to cope with in every day life. In our paper we want to present results from an ongoing study on the experiences of asylum seeking children in Sweden. Our research objective is to identify factors that are important for well being of children seeking asylum and to study how they cope with their experiences as asylum seekers. The tension between excluding experiences and expectations regarding how the situation of the child and it’s family should improve or deteriorate after the flight is for a child a constitutive reference for how coping strategies are developed. Also important is the length of visit and the age of the child. Our main focus are on children who have waited for decisions regarding permanent residence for several months and sometimes more than a year. We intend to present results from qualitative interviews with children from 9 years and with one parent for each child. We intend to address questions such as: To which extent is the management of asylum linked to how children cope in everyday life? Under which circumstances can children create supportive relationships in their local settingss and which factors make them marginalised and excluded? To which extent can children create a sense of coherence and sense of empowerment in their immediate environment?

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