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Session Overview
Session
RN04_01b_P: Children as Refugees and Migrants I
Time:
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: David Oswell, Goldsmiths, University of London
Location: PC.2.9
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 2.

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Presentations

Constructing the child as refugee: visual and textual representations of refugee children in digital media

Eleni Theodorou

European University Cyprus, Cyprus

Over the past few years, Europe has seen a significant rise in immigration as a result of protracted and violent conflicts in various places around the world. One of conflicts that has featured prominently in European media is the Syrian conflict. Images of men, women, and children refugees from Syria reaching European shores in small, overcrowded and fragile boats drifting in tumultuous Mediterranean waters have been traveling around the world through, inter alia, digital media. The power of the media to produce, reproduce and represent ideas and ideologies about refugees and asylum seekers, often construing dehumanizing and stigmatizing representations of (mostly adult) refugees, has been documented in the literature (for example see Banks, 2012; Eses, Medianu, & Lawson, 2013, Bleiker, Campbell, Hutchison & Nicholson, 2013). This paper seeks to turn the gaze unto the refugee child in particular with the aim of unraveling meanings and conceptualizations of the child as refugee by critically examining representations of refugee children in image and text appearing in Greek-Cypriot digital news media over the period May 2015-May 2016, a period which, according to UNHCR records, marked a tremendous spike in refugee flows through the Mediterranean sea. Through engaging in qualitative visual, content, and thematic analysis of approximately 350 news articles appearing in ten different Greek-Cypriot digital news media (digital newspapers and news sites), visual and textual representations of refugee children were critically interrogated as to the ideas and conceptualizations of childhood vis-à-vis dominant ideological constructions of childhood innocence (Duschinsky, 2013) and of the raced, gendered and classed child-subject.


Contested Childhoods: Independent Juvenile Migrants’ Social Navigation Strategies through Worlds in Crisis.

Sofia Vlachou

Panteion, Greece

My presentation discusses chronological Age as an additional field of Biopolitics exercise in the European migratory context. Based on research with independently migrating teenagers and young adults in Greece, it highlights some of those juveniles’ generational strategies to localize and create passages through the real, symbolic and material constraints imposed on them by spatial seclusion, economic and civic deprivation and exposure to racism during their efforts to reach an imagined ‘genuine Europe’. While examining the subjects’ sociopolitical situatedness with relation to further intersecting aspects such as ethnicity, nationality, sex and gender the presentation moreover traces eventual racialization, gendering and generationing rationalities that underlie public discourses around migrant Bogusness. It is finally argued that due to the existence of an additional, generational ‘bio- filter’ in matters of migration governance, in the case of young migrants, the natural process of reaching chronological adultness constitutes after all an instance to be feared of instead of being celebrated, once that it forms another threshold of exclusion from settlement options.


“The Experiences of Unaccompanied Minors before and during their migration to Greece”

Ourania - Eleni Zachariadou

University College London, Greece

This research attempts to explore the experiences of unaccompanied minors, before and during their migration to Europe. It aims to assist the better understanding of these children, hoping that this could help not only the improvement of services offered to them, but also influence people who are negative regarding children’s migration. This is a case study which took place in a shelter (directed by an NGO) in Greece. Before the beginning of the research an ethical application has been examined by the ethical committee of University College of London and a pilot research has been completed. The methods which are used are qualitative methods, such as group activities (the creation of drawings and posters) and group interviews. The participants were boys between 12 and 18 years old. Regarding the findings, minors seem to migrate in order to be safe from the terrorists and the war and to get a better life. Moreover, all participants have had painful experiences from the migration trip which was scary and dangerous for them. Greece is just a station for them, before their final destination. The decision for these minors’ migration, in most cases, had been made by their family or/and by their family and them personally. However, there were cases when children made this decision alone and/or against the will of their family. Participants present positive and negative aspects of their life before their migration with the main conclusions being that these children have survived several hazards, in order to start a better life.


Present- absent? Migrant and refugee children in Polish schools in the narratives of teachers

Urszula Markowska-Manista, Dominika Zakrzewska-Olędzka

Maria Grzegorzewska University, Poland

Polish school is a place where migrant or refugee students are still relatively rare. Despite the fact that the problem of cultural diversity connected with the concept of intercultural opening of the school has been addressed for several years, school praxis still seems to be oriented towards the needs of a homogeneous environment, with an average, undistinguished student, and most import_antly, one who does not stand out against the majority of school class. Research (observations and interviews) conducted in school environment allow to discern children’s diversity with a clear division into those who are better and worse. The observations and research also reveal that children’s cultural context is ignored.

The aim of the presentation is to outline how migrant and refugee students in Polish schools are perceived through the prism of teachers’ narratives.

In the presentation we will refer to research results from 2015-2017 when interviews were conducted among 80 teachers from primary and lower secondary schools.

The presentation is an attempt at a critical look at the place of migrant and refugee students in Polish schools as well as how they are perceived by teachers.



 
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