Young Refugees in the Economically Stricken Greece: Narratives of Dislocation, Changing Self-Perceptions and Life Trajectories

Friday, 20 July 2018: 11:00
Oral Presentation
Evaggelia KALERANTE, University of W. Macedonia, Greece
This paper focuses on the narratives of young refugees currently settled in the debt- stricken Greek society. This special category of forcibly displaced individuals is studied in relation to its identification with or differentiation from origin and host society taking into account the distinctive characteristics of young people and youth culture. Greece, as the host/ transit country, provides the context for varied (re)interpretations, perceptions and expectations which are also informed by the consequences of the economic crisis. Our study on the interpretations and expectations of young refugees is based on 5 life stories of individuals who, despite differences in terms of their social characteristics (i.e. ethnicity, gender, family’s former socio-economic status), they share in common their high(er) educational capital. Through their personal narratives, we analyze: the (dis)continuities of their transition from home to host country, the ways in which they manage dislocation and loss, the disruption of their former social/communal networks, the current challenges they face and their assessment of the present conditions of living; the frustrations resulting of their temporary status as asylum seekers, their changing self-perceptions, as well as their aspirations and future prospects.

The study, which is currently conducted (2017), takes place at a moment in time when the prospect of young refugees’ relocation remains ambivalent and when most natives seem to have ‘compromised’ with the idea of refugees’ (permanent) settlement into the country.