Young Migrants: Vulnerabilities, Boundaries, Protection and Integration

Ana Vila-Freyer, Mehmet Gökay Özerim

“This book is the product of a fascinating conference held in Bari, Italy, in June 2019. Viewing the content of the collection of chapters included in the book, one can discover that, in that conference, presenters and organisers implicitly heed Dobson’s invitation (2009) to unpack children [and youth] in migration research. Doing this, contributors successfully overcame two kinds of “adultist constructions” (Holt & Holloway 2006) that are typical in the literature about international migrant children. First, the perspective that overlooks children in migration research simply because they are not “migrants”, they are “things”, “objects” or “suitcases” carried by their parents or other adults. In the collection of contributions gathered by Ana Vila-Freyer and Gökay Mehmet Ozerim, readers will discover exactly the opposite: children and youth are migrants. Instead of being “objects”, children and youth circulate, produce mental maps, have educational purposes while moving from one country to another. They build their own forms of understanding about the role and the duties of their legal guardians when they move unaccompanied and separated from their parents; they also talk about their own experiences. These children produce their narrative about what international mobility means for them; they even create their identities referring to different heritages, languages and feelings. In some cases, they are proud of their origins while accommodating the changes for acquiring new nationalities.”

– Víctor Zúñiga, Professor of Sociology atTecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico