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DisplacementGlobal conversations on refuge$
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Silvia Pasquetti and Romola Sanyal

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526123466

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526123473

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 01 August 2021

‘Niche openings’ and compassionate exclusions: the UK’s response to children during the refugee crisis

‘Niche openings’ and compassionate exclusions: the UK’s response to children during the refugee crisis

Chapter:
(p.46) 2 ‘Niche openings’ and compassionate exclusions: the UK’s response to children during the refugee crisis
Source:
Displacement
Author(s):

Ala Sirriyeh

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526123473.00010

The author identifies what she calls a ‘niche opening’ within the increasingly repressive policies of control and containment of refugees in the UK and wider Europe: refugee children. She engages with Western discourses about childhood and vulnerability to show how, unlike other asylum seekers, refugee children are approached by the UK asylum regime as subjects with ‘citizenship potential’. Within the wider context of hostility there have been ‘niche openings’ for certain categories of asylum seekers who have been looked on more favourably because they fit with certain moral and humanitarian values and aims of European nations. One of these niche openings has been for refugee children. While in the UK asylum seekers are judged as lacking citizenship potential and typically rejected through abandonment, confinement or expulsion, children are regarded as an investment in the future of the nation to be moulded into model citizens through protection and guidance. This proximity to citizenship is, however, not only partial due to assumptions about refugee children’s lack of agency but also temporary as it gets abruptly interrupted as refugee youth age out of childhood.

Keywords:   refugee children, UK, Europe, niche opening, citizenship, childhood, asylum seekers, moral

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