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.
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.