European welfare states constructing “Unaccompanied Minors” – A comparative analysis of existing research on 13 European countries

Philipp Sandermann, Onno Husen, Maren Zeller

Abstract

The high and dramatically risen numbers of young people who have come to Europe unaccompanied during recent years stand for a shocking amount of vulnerable children whose individual life courses are at stake. At the same time, the term UAM that is usually taken to address these young people is a technical term that refers to certain contexts beyond individual life courses. Therefore, investigating “UAM” implies to reveal the extent to which young people are being addressed and socially constructed as UAM by virtue of specific welfare state frameworks. We will take a comparative perspective that draws from social constructionism and welfare state research and focus on the two phases of initial receptions and long-term accommodations of young people who enter Europe without legal guardians and the hope for protection to contribute to a better understanding of how European welfare states vary where they construct these young people as “UAM.”


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