Life Planning and Habitus: Opportunities and Constraints Among Unaccompanied Young Refugees in Sweden

Philip Lalander and Marcus Herz - YOUNG


The article examines how unaccompanied young refugees in Sweden relate to and talk about their everyday lives and life plans during a time of transition from childhood to adulthood. We regard them as navigators and emotional beings embodying social situations, relationships and sentiments in their habitus throughout their lives affecting their life plans and acting to build capital in social fields. Their narratives show that they all have a life plan. However, disruptions and adjustments of life plans occur, often related to their birth families, deeply embodied in their habitus, to their everyday life, but also to socio-economic and political contexts both globally and locally. Their position as young ‘unaccompanied minors’ is fragile when it comes to realizing future goals. A stable social and economic structure, stability capital, appears to contribute to possibilities of adapting to or maintaining sustainable life plans.