SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Too Much, too Young? The Conceptualisation and Representation of Children and Young People Seeking Asylum in the UK

Heaven Crawley (Swansea University)

Date: 27 February 2013Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 27 February 2013Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51

Type of Event: Seminar

This seminar explores the experiences of separated asylum-seeking children and considers the implications of dominant understandings of ‘childhood’ for the ways in which the children’s experiences of persecution and violence are interpreted in the UK asylum system. Although there is a widely held consensus among academics that the boundaries of ‘childhood’ are socially constructed - and that this is reflected in differences in what it means to be a ‘child’ over time and across space -this understanding is largely absent from the policies and practices that constitute the asylum determination process. Children who claim asylum are constructed as passive, vulnerable, dependent, asexual and apolitical victims (usually at the hands of adults) who should be allowed to stay on a discretionary basis until they turn 18 but who are not considered deserving of, or entitled to, protection under international law. Where children assert their agency and insist that their political and sexual experiences are taken into account, this may undermine their claims to be children at all.  

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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