The Immigrant Childhood in Chile

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:30 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Iskra PAVEZ , Sociología, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
This paper presents part of the results of a FONDECYT investigation that analyzes the integration of immigrant children and adolescents. The study was financed with public funds and was designed to address the policy and social interventions carried out by the State and ONG within migrant communities.

The study is based on the Sociology of Childhood that defines childhood as a three dimensional concept. The first dimension addresses childhood as a social construction, which is separate from the essential idea of the childish being. This social construction has been expressed in different ways across history and in every sociopolitical context.

The second dimension defines childhood as a permanent sociological category of the social structure, although its members are constantly renewed. The third dimension comprises children as “social actors with an agency capacity” that open generational and gender relations of power with other actors, both within their families and in other social areas. Nevertheless, that social role is not often recognized in society and in academics. This is due to the adultcentrism that discriminates against them because of their age and economic dependence (Jenks 1982; Qvortrup 1994; James and Prout 1997; Mayall 2002; Gaitán 2006; Unda 2010).

In the investigation, the social integration of migrant children is analyzed through semi-structured interviews with migrant children aged 8 to 15, as well as by participant observation in state Offices of Rights Protection. It is taken to be the exercise of its rights and the development of transnational practices and how social intervention hinders and/or provides that integration.

Finally, the investigation concludes that migratory trajectories and diverse social factors (such as genre, age, language, place of birth, nationality, social position among others) have an impact on the accommodation and social integration of the new immigrant generations living in Chile.