Accepted Paper:

Refugee children's status in the Norwegian welfare state and role in their family  


Josée Archambault (NTNU, Trondheim)

Paper short abstract:

My paper sheds light on the gap between asylum-seeking children's status and their parents' status, in relation to their rights and their active role in the Norwegian society. How are children's and parents' statuses changing when settling as a refugee family and how is this experienced by children?

Paper long abstract:

My paper takes part in a discussion in the field of childhood studies about the concept of citizenship and how we may refer to children as citizens, as active members of a society. What form of citizenship can asylum-seeking children access; children whose parents are not themselves part of that social ensemble of citizens of the state? I suggest looking at that question while taking as a starting point the status of refugee children in the Norwegian welfare state, from the time they live in reception centres for asylum-seekers to the time they settle as refugees in a community. It can be said that, by virtue of children's international rights and of the incorporation of the UNCRC in the Norwegian domestic law, asylum-seeking children's rights are better recognized by the Norwegian welfare state than those of their parents. Can the same be said once families have received a residence permit and they settle as refugees? Children are generally perceived as dependent on their parents, but, in the light of empirical data on the theme, interdependence between children and parents appears to be more accurate. I will shed light on the status shift of refugee children and parents taking place at the time of settlement. This paper will discuss how family members' status may change in the welfare state and how it may interfere in children's experience of settlement within their family and their new community.

Panel W076
Children and migration in Europe: between new citizenships and transnational families