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  • Author or Editor: Marcus Herz x
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Utilising data gathered through ethnographic fieldwork this article investigates (a) how asylum seekers portray family life in relation to their decision to flee their country of origin, and (b) how asylum seekers’ ways of doing family life intersect with the Swedish migration context. Analytically, the article leans on sociologically informed theories of family practices and a conceptual discussion on deportability. The results show how family life among the participants is reconstituted both in terms of geographical closeness and distance, and in terms of ideas about a previous family life in the country of origin and hopes for a possible future in Sweden. The insecurity and the strains placed on people and their family bonds by current migration policies, and the risk of deportation, are interpreted as a specific form of administrative violence that cuts into family practices, serving to maintain physical and emotional distance between family members and break down social bonds.

Open access

Utilising data gathered through ethnographic fieldwork this article investigates (a) how asylum seekers portray family life in relation to their decision to flee their country of origin, and (b) how asylum seekers’ ways of doing family life intersect with the Swedish migration context. Analytically, the article leans on sociologically informed theories of family practices and a conceptual discussion on deportability. The results show how family life among the participants is reconstituted both in terms of geographical closeness and distance, and in terms of ideas about a previous family life in the country of origin and hopes for a possible future in Sweden. The insecurity and the strains placed on people and their family bonds by current migration policies, and the risk of deportation, are interpreted as a specific form of administrative violence that cuts into family practices, serving to maintain physical and emotional distance between family members and break down social bonds.

Open access

The aim of this article is to elaborate, theoretically, on the ambiguity of hope and its relation to social change in the asylum context. This ambiguity involves two different perspectives of hope. One more mundane view of hope where it is considered an emotion used to overcome complex issues and move towards a better situation in the future. A perspective often used by social and migration authorities to urge people to hope for a future should they submit to the authorities’ logic. The other perspective, more common in some research, challenges such positive connotations and argues that hope can put people in a position of suffering where hope may hinder or slow down the realisation of social change. With the aid of scholars who have theorised about hope and ethnographic cases from our research on hope in the asylum context, we develop a theoretical perspective on hope and social change. Our perspective includes concepts such as the governmentality of hope, fragmentation of hope and glimmers of hope. To grasp the relationship between hope and social change, we must account for several mixed emotions, such as feelings of despair, fear and bitterness, as well as glimmers of hope. Such mixtures of emotions may be essential to initiate and create social change. A central argument in this article is that an analysis of hope when people risk being governed by hope would benefit from a parallel analysis of social change.

Open access

Using ethnographic data, this article aims to analyse the provision of informal care by asylum-seekers in Sweden and how this intersects with the(ir) asylum process. The article argues that asylum-seekers are framed by the Swedish welfare system and immigration authorities as ungrievable and deportable, which not only impedes their access to formal care systems and values, but also creates a strong need for informal care. Further, it is suggested that the informal care provided by asylum-seekers should be included in current debate on informal care and its impact on people’s lives.

Open access