Classed landscapes of care and belonging: guardianships of unaccompanied minors
Katrien De Graeve (Ghent University)
Paper short abstract:
Drawing on ethnographic interviews with guardians of unaccompanied minor foreigners in Belgium, this paper investigates the classed and raced inequalities and the way middle-class values are played out in the care relations between guardians and unaccompanied minor foreigners.
Paper long abstract:
Drawing on ethnographic interviews with guardians of unaccompanied minor foreigners in the Western European country of Belgium, this paper investigates the classed and raced inequalities underlying the 'carescapes' in which unaccompanied minor foreigners get caught up when entering the country. It does so by analyzing the beliefs and practices of the often white, middle-class guardians of unaccompanied minors and examines how they negotiate policies and dominant discourses on the minors' presumed needs and rights in terms of care and protection. These policies and discourses seem to oscillate between middle class imageries of 'sacred' childhood and classed and raced representations of refugees/immigrants as undeserving consumers of public services and a threat to white, middle-class ways of life. The paper explores how this tension in middle class values is played out in these relationships. Doing so, it hopes to provide insights in the strengths and constraints of these relationships, and how they are shaped by regulations and ideologies. It aims to find out which elements are likely to foster the minors' empowerment and which may contribute to a reinforcement of processes of racialization, classed stratification and exclusion.
The future of class