Research

‘I Am Going to Europe Tomorrow’: The Myth of the Anchor Child and the Decision to Flee in the Narratives of Unaccompanied Children

Authors:

Abstract

The term ‘anchor child’ implicates that, to create future homes in another country, parents supposedly use their children by sending them on a mission as ‘unaccompanied minors’. Since the term is sometimes used in public debate, our aim is to use elements of this stereotype to analyse and contrast it to the young people’s own narratives. Through repeated interviews and observations with 23 unaccompanied children living in Sweden over the course of one year, this article provides complex narratives of the decision to escape, the rationality of the escape plan and the ways in which the young people reflect on possible future reunion with their families. Results show that their flight and its outcome is related to the young people’s agency during a struggle for survival affected by current political and social contexts, making the tendency to interpret the children’s situation through a ‘Western’ nuclear family rationality highly problematic.

Keywords:

Anchor childunaccompanied minorsescapenarrativesnuclear family
  • Year: 2018
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 2
  • Page/Article: 91-98
  • DOI: 10.1515/njmr-2018-0001
  • Published on 1 Jun 2018
  • Peer Reviewed