Moa Nyamwathi Lønning

After Being Granted or Refused Asylum in Norway: Relational Migration Journeys among Afghan Unaccompanied Young Men

  • General Social Sciences

This article considers experiences of moving and dwelling in Europe among Afghan unaccompanied young men in the context of stringent migration, asylum, and settlement processes. The young men embarked as minors and arrived unaccompanied in Norway. There, their claims for asylum had radically different outcomes: some were granted international protection and others were refused asylum. The article sheds light on forms of relationality on migration journeys by focusing on relational selves and subjectivities regarding trajectories, processes of inclusion and exclusion, and family. Participants shared numerous challenges and struggles arising from their journeys, but also possibilities and transformations taking place alongside developmental changes and life transitions. While some attached meaning to experienced hardships and drew on a sense of direction, others spoke of exhaustion or inoculated themselves from an inability to pursue a direction they desired and saw as necessary for their lives. They made sense of their experiences relationally, relating to hopes and fears, idealised and longed for kinship ties and care, and the ongoing processes and positionings involved in shaping their present situations and imaginings of the future.

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