In the four-year project we will highlight undocumented migrant children’s claims to be right holders focusing on everyday experiences and agency. Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s observation that rights can be realised only in a political community and Jacque Rancière’s theory that politics of human rights must be rooted in the practices of rights-holders they the project has a strong agency perspective that asks how children themselves claim and utilize rights. We also investigate contradictions between different levels of regulation regarding undocumented children’s human rights.
To reveal how children subjectively experience life as undocumented and negotiate agency in this situation, a child-centred participative research design is adopted. Activities and interviews will be conducted in the city of Manchester, UK and Malmö, Sweden. The PhD student will be spending several months in Manchester. We also investigate international and national regulations in the area as well as policy at city level regarding undocumented children’s rights.
The research will provide knowledge about the situation of undocumented migrant children from the point of human rights. This is of central importance especially with regard to the children since they as under-age and non-citizens lack the traditional opportunities for political action. The project will also provide theoretically important insights of the contested meaning of human rights at different levels. Furthermore, a strong aim is to create conditions for a more tempered public debate in Sweden around highly politicised subjects.