Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration
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Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration

Edited by Katharyne Mitchell, Reece Jones and Jennifer L. Fluri

Border walls, shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, separated families at the border, island detention camps: migration is at the centre of contemporary political and academic debates. This ground-breaking Handbook offers an exciting and original analysis of critical research on themes such as these, drawing on cutting-edge theories from an interdisciplinary and international group of leading scholars. With a focus on spatial analysis and geographical context, this volume highlights a range of theoretical, methodological and regional approaches to migration research, while remaining attuned to the underlying politics that bring critical scholars together.
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Chapter 6: Embodied migration and the geographies of care: the worlds of unaccompanied refugee minors

Anna-Kaisa Kuusisto-Arponen and Mary Gilmartin


Migration is an experiential and embodied practice. This means that migrants constantly negotiate a sense of embodied (be)longing. Belonging is therefore constructed of bundles of socio-spatial sites and ties, both in the past and the present, there and here. For all migrants this belonging is both translocal and transcultural. In this chapter the authors focus on unaccompanied refugee minors and their ambiguous positions when confronted with migration governance, as they seek to create a sense of belonging while simultaneously coping with spatial trauma of being forcibly displaced. Institutions of care should support the development of belonging, but often actively inhibit it or do not recognise the transcultural needs of unaccompanied minors. Yet embodied belonging should be the desired goal for institutions looking after unaccompanied minors. If this is not the case, this creates long-term problems in personal and societal levels.

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