Growing up in illegality: Young adults’ life histories about the impact of a childhood lived under a long-lasting threat of deportation –retrospective voices from Denmark and Sweden
- Contact person:
- Jacob Lind
- Responsible at Malmö University:
- Jacob Lind
- Collaborators and other project members:
- Centre for Advanced Migration Studies (AMIS)
- Copenhagen University
- Time frame:
- 15 August 2022 - 15 August 2024
- Research environment :
- Research subject:
Through life history interviews with young adults who spent several years of their childhood as undocumented migrants in Denmark and Sweden this study aims to produce in depth accounts about the long-term consequences of restrictive migration regulations for children. Some earlier research, including my PhD work, has focused on interviewing undocumented migrant children and youth about their experiences while they still are “in the middle of it”.
This project aims to address a gap in the literature and provide knowledge about how these same people look back at their experiences as they grow older after having received the legal right to remain in the country. Childhood, including adolescence, are generally the most formative times in people’s lives. The incredibly stressful, traumatic and overwhelming experience of growing up in a family without legal migration status has potentially severe, life-long implications for people’s health and social relations in society.
The strong interdependence that emerges within undocumented migrant families as a response to their challenging situation often creates complex family relationships. A retroactive vantage point can provide additional perspectives on how undocumented childhoods are experienced that are not so easily discussed with children.
Furthermore, a life course perspective will enable a broader view on the effects of illegality as children transition into adulthood. In addition to these individual aspects, this project will also provide a unique, comparative and bottom-up insight into the effects of Danish and Swedish state approaches to undocumented childhoods, and the implications of their larger migration regimes over time. By studying the “critical case” of childhoods in illegality, this project will discuss the larger implications of hostile migration policies for social cohesion and possibilities to foster conviviality.