Accepted paper:

Navigating the movements and impasses of everyday life: young Eritrean refugees' hopes of movement-through-education

Authors:

Annika Lems (Max Planck Institut for Social Anthropology)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I will attempt to move beyond the metaphorical use of im/mobility by looking into the ways individuals whose lives would commonly be described in terms of a heightened sense of mobility actively make sense of these categories in their daily lives.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I will attempt to move beyond the metaphorical use of im/mobility by looking into the ways individuals actively make sense of these categories in their daily lives. Focusing on the lifeworlds of a group of unaccompanied minors from Eritrea who after long and perilous journeys made their way to Switzerland, I will zoom in on the ambiguous, brief and often forceful moments when they experienced their lives as being-in-movement or as being-stuck. I will pay particular attention to the importance the young people attached to education as a way of moving forward in their lives. These hopes of movement-through-education often propelled the young people during their dangerous journeys through the Libyan desert and across the Mediterranean. I will discuss what happens when these imaginaries of mobility clash with the reality of a restrictive asylum system that curtails the young people's educational possibilities and opportunities to move forward in their lives. By zooming in on particular moments when the teenagers experienced, imagined, or narrated their lives in terms of movement, or when they felt they had reached an impasse, I will shed light on the dialectical ways mobility and immobility enter into and envelop everyday lives.

panel P144
Navigating migration and asylum regimes