an eu flag behind a barbed wire

New study on unaccompanied young refugees

How do power relations contribute to the shaping of young people's identities and repertoires of action? Goran Basic, associate professor at Linnaeus University, has identified and analysed this based on interviews with refugees from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

Refugees who have experienced war often suffer from post-traumatic stress, depression, nightmares and reminders of traumatic events. Young refugees arriving alone have worse mental health than those who arrived with parents, and have been exposed to a greater degree of physical and sexual abuse.

A new study by Goran Basic, associate professor at Linnaeus University, is about young people who have experienced war, taken shelter in Sweden, and been placed in institutions. It is based on interviews with six young, unaccompanied refugees from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Goran has also used other research material, such as media coverage analyses and observational notes.

“The purpose of the study is to identify and analyse power relations that contribute to shaping young people's identities and repertoires of action. It is about power relations during the war, during the flight and during life in Sweden.”

Physical, blackmail and bureaucratised exercise of power

In the study, Goran Basic divides his findings into three different themes: physical exercise of power, blackmail as an exercise of power, and bureaucratized exercise of power.

“The study contributes to new knowledge about dealing with narratives that combine war experiences, youth and institutional relationships, about the significance of narratives for how young people create and recreate their identity, as well as about alternative approaches for the analysis of relatively expected traumatic perspectives.”

The results of the study can serve as a starting point and reference point for other research, says Goran. Especially in the context of the new Ukrainian refugee crisis and to examine possible differences and double standards in refugee reception procedures.

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