Accepted paper:

Belonging in the liminality of welfare Denmark


Andrea Verdasco (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

Through a Scandinavian lens, this paper will explore the frictions beyond a state of non-being of asylum-seekers not belonging to welfare Denmark and the constant presence of the welfare state through interactions in the lived space at an asylum centre for 'unaccompanied asylum-seeking minors'.

Paper long abstract:

Asylum-seekers are classified as stateless, illegal or migrants; all these categories have an embedded ideology of being in a state of not belonging to a nation-state. When asylum-seekers arrive in welfare Denmark, the situation shifts to one of almost absolute surveillance, more so for those arriving under age and without their parents, those in the legal category of the 'unaccompanied asylum-seeking minor'. This paper will address from an ethnographic stand how young refugees experience living in a liminal place within the framework of a welfare state. What tensions are created between the uncertainty of a future in Denmark and a highly regulated state where 'what they eat', 'how they behave', or 'how they clean their room' is under surveillance? How does a shared space with others in the same category affect the sense of belonging and identity of young asylum-seekers in Denmark?

panel P55
States beyond states