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Accepted Paper:

Social Relations and the Transition to Adulthood of Unaccompanied Refugee Adolescents – A Systematic Review  
Kjell Winkens (University of Groningen) Elianne Zijlstra (University of Groningen) Wendy Post (University of Groningen) monika smit (Groningen Universityi) Carla van Os (University of Groningen)

Paper short abstract:

Social relations play an important role during the transition to adulthood. This systematic review maps the social network of unaccompanied refugee adolescents in both their host country and country of origin, and describes their influence on the various transition challenges that these minors face.

Paper long abstract:

Unaccompanied refugee adolescents often have few years to get settled in their host country before they transition to (a nominal) adulthood. Between arriving and ageing out of youth care, adolescents face certain challenges while preparing for an adult life. Based on existing studies, we define these as: ‘Education and employment’, ‘Independent living skills’, ‘Social network’, and ‘Sense of identity and belonging’. These are often started in the country of origin’s contexts, yet have to be finished in the specific circumstances of the host country.

This paper emphasises the importance of a holistic view on adolescents’ social network in studying transition challenges. The arrival in a new country can lead to new social relations and the renegotiation of pre-existing ones. Besides the professional assistance that adolescents are assigned in care, they can also form new friendships or ‘familial’ relations with peers, foster carers or other informal networks. Furthermore, transnational relations with family or friends can also be maintained. Each of these actors has their own views on a ‘successful’ transition or ‘childhood’ and can have a (non-)supporting influence on adolescent’s transition challenges.

This paper argues that transnational family is an important yet little studied actor in the transition of unaccompanied adolescents. In discussing this, we would like to share deliberations from an ongoing project on transnational family and the transition to adulthood of unaccompanied adolescents.

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