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Accepted Paper:

Time and the Child On temporal construction of refugee childhood  
Nataliya Tchermalykh (University of Geneva)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses “temporal architectures” of migrant childhoods - that are complex compositions of laws, institutions and technologies. It extends existing literature on childhood by confronting the ways in which time is enacted through legal assemblages, surrounding young migrants’ lives.

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores “temporal architectures” of migrant childhoods - that are complex compositions of laws, institutions and technologies. It extends existing literature on childhood by confronting the ways in which time is enacted through legal assemblages, surrounding young migrants’ lives. It brings particular attention to the temporal boundary of the 18th birthday, that is also a legal paradox, separating the relatively protected childhood from right-less and deportable adulthood. In practice, it is configured as a space of endless anxieties, controversies and legal battles. Here, law is not passive with respect to time but actually creates and orders it through a set of techniques including time limits, commencement dates, and eligibility periods.

In this polemical context, judges of juvenile courts often serve as agents of the State discretion - its “eyes” - capable of distinguishing between a “real” minor, deserving state protection from a “fraudulent” one. The “juridical time” that emerges as a result of such an ordering practice is inextricably bound to the exercise of state power, that control, commands, and shapes time of their subjects through the workings of law. In this vein, Cohen pointed to the need for much clearer awareness of both ‘temporal justice’ and ‘temporal injustice’, that has not yet received the deserved attention within legal anthropology. This paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork with unaccompanied minors and their attorneys in Geneva, France and Greece, and brings forward a particular case, when an unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan committed suicide on his 18th birthday.

Panel P087b
New anthropological perspectives on unaccompanied migrant youth in Europe and beyond II
  Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -