Accepted Paper:

Going beyond the irregularity paradigm - an exploration of Roma children's geographies of mobility and agency in Europe  
Airi Markkanen (University of Eastern Finland)Anca Enache (Helsinki University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper questions the present child and family migration discourses of irregularity in Europe, by examining the mobility experiences, practices and agency exercised by the Romanian Roma children in Finland.

Paper long abstract:

The accession of Romania to the European Union provided the Romanian Roma with the opportunity to exercise new livelihood strategies, agency and mobility practices in Europe, whilst developing new forms of inequality and 'otherness' within and across societies. The discourses and policy practices related to the migration of Roma families and children in Europe have been highly politicized and problematized, being discussed in response to questions of irregularity and illegality. In Finland for example, the mobility of Roma families and children has been labeled and argued strictly from the perspective of the violation of children's rights.

This paper questions the discourses and policies which surround the mobility practices of children and families in Europe, by exploring the everyday mobility practices of the Romanian Roma in Finland. The role and power exercised by children in migration decision making when accompanying kin, their own negotiations of movement, and their identities, are each explored as ambivalent, dynamic and fluid processes. This study is located within the ethnographic genre, using long term observation, puppetry and other visual methods, in order to voice and visualize the mobility experiences. Multi-sited ethnography (Schiller, 2003) also offered the possibility of moving between localities - within both the country of origin and the country of migration - in order to analyze how global discourses intersect with everyday experiences of mobility (Marcus, 1995; Gupta and Ferguson, 1997.)

Panel P012
Independent child migration in an interconnected world