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'I stand on my own two feet but need someone who really cares': Social networks and social capital among unaccompanied minors for becoming established in Swedish society
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0108-4237
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Police Education Unit at Umeå University.
2018 (English)In: The Journal of Refugee Studies, ISSN 0951-6328, E-ISSN 1471-6925Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Settling in a new host country as an unaccompanied minor holds a lot of challenges such as adaptation of new social norms, learning a new language and understanding a new culture. Social networks may foster good conditions for settlement in the host community but little is known about the availability, quality and significance of social networks for unaccompanied minors (UM) in Sweden. The aim of this qualitative grounded-theory situational study was to explore experiences of social networks among UM and the significance of those networks for becoming established in Sweden, based on data from in-depth interviews with 11 young persons. Unaccompanied young persons were broadly found to be involved in three different kinds of networks: professional carers, like-ethnic friends and ‘Swedes’ in general. Networks with professionals (i.e. linking social capital) were perceived as both a secure base and a source of rejection, and could either facilitate or obstruct the establishment. Supporting networks with like-ethnic friends (bonding social capital) proved to be the most available and important resource for becoming established, while access to networks with Swedes (bridging social capital) was in general low but still perceived as important for becoming established, not least for reducing language and cultural barriers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford University Press, 2018.
Keywords [en]
Unaccompanied minors, social networks, social capital, establishment, Sweden, grounded theory, situational analysis
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-150967DOI: 10.1093/jrs/fey030OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-150967DiVA, id: diva2:1240393
Available from: 2018-08-21 Created: 2018-08-21 Last updated: 2019-04-05

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Eriksson, MalinWimelius, Malin E.Ghazinour, Mehdi

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Department of Social WorkDepartment of Political SciencePolice Education Unit at Umeå University
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