Problematising separated children: a policy analysis of the UK ‘Safeguarding Strategy: unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children’

P. Rigby, M. Fotopoulou, A. Rogers, A. Manta, M. Dikaiou

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Abstract

While international and national policies, strategies and legislation have been designed to address the problems of forced displacement they also form a vital role in the discursive construction, governance and regulation of those who have been displaced. This paper critically interrogates the ‘UK Safeguarding Strategy: Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking and Refugee Children’ to highlight the ways in which unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) are implicitly constructed as a policy problem. Drawing on Foucault, and using Bacchi’s (2009) ‘What’s the problem represented to be’ - ‘WPR’ - a novel analytic method for studying problematisation within policy, this paper moves beyond the policy definition of an unaccompanied asylum seeking child to unearth characterisations that the policy ascribes to this group of children, and in particular the conceptual boundaries established for the way society thinks about UASC. These conceptual boundaries are divisive in nature, including suspicion around routes of arrival to the UK; constructions of risk; and questions about the responsbility of providing care and of being in need of care. The significance of the paper lies in its aim to use the examination of the discursive practices of the UK’s Safeguarding Strategy as a starting point in order to open a broader discussion around how UASC are constructed and governed, nationally and internationally.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Early online date26 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Nov 2019

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title = "Problematising separated children: a policy analysis of the UK ‘Safeguarding Strategy: unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children’",
abstract = "While international and national policies, strategies and legislation have been designed to address the problems of forced displacement they also form a vital role in the discursive construction, governance and regulation of those who have been displaced. This paper critically interrogates the ‘UK Safeguarding Strategy: Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking and Refugee Children’ to highlight the ways in which unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) are implicitly constructed as a policy problem. Drawing on Foucault, and using Bacchi’s (2009) ‘What’s the problem represented to be’ - ‘WPR’ - a novel analytic method for studying problematisation within policy, this paper moves beyond the policy definition of an unaccompanied asylum seeking child to unearth characterisations that the policy ascribes to this group of children, and in particular the conceptual boundaries established for the way society thinks about UASC. These conceptual boundaries are divisive in nature, including suspicion around routes of arrival to the UK; constructions of risk; and questions about the responsbility of providing care and of being in need of care. The significance of the paper lies in its aim to use the examination of the discursive practices of the UK’s Safeguarding Strategy as a starting point in order to open a broader discussion around how UASC are constructed and governed, nationally and internationally.",
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