Childhood in Hostile Grounds:Intersectional Perspectives on the Lives of Very Young Refugee Children in Mass Accommodation in Germany. Preliminary Findings.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Übungsraum 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Anne WIHSTUTZ, Protestamt University of Applied Sciences, Berlin (EHB), Germany
With a growing number of refugees arriving in prosperous societies of the Global North, issues of migration gain salient importance in the public not only concerning accommoda-tion and provision but addressing questions of integration and cohesion (Newman & Clar-ke 2009). One of the characteristic features of ‚new’ racism or everyday racism in Europe is the exclusionary discourse concerning migrants and refugees as ‚Others’ (Delanty et al 2008). ‚Othering‘ occurs on all levels, in the media, institutions and everyday life encoun-ters. Closely related to everyday racism is structural institutional racism, which works through (not) granting access to relevant domains of society accordingly. While age dis-crimination is shared by all children due to the specific generational ordering of society (Bühler-Niederberger 2011), young children seeking asylum in Germany have their basic rights as stipulated by the CRC, cut by German asylum laws. Within the group of asylum seeking children age discrimination is intersecting with other dimensions of social inequali-ty. Informed by the ‚new‘ sociology of childhood the paper presents first findings of an on-going empirical study on everyday life of young refugee children aged under six years, ho-sted together with their parents in refugee mass accommodation in Germany. Based in ethnography, the findings are discussed in view of age discrimination intersecting with ethnicity, nationality and disability on 3 levels: everyday routines, social and institutional practices, and law. The paper allows first insights into young children’s own understanding and interpretations of their everyday life, their social relationships, movement in space and time, and self-positioning while residing in ‚total institutions‘ (Goffman 1961) for asylum seekers. In character of an outlook the paper asks how ANT (Latour 2005) could be made fruitful for analyzing ‚othering' processes in the ‚making‘ of children, especially the group of young asylum seeking children a very vulnerable group.