Forming the capacity to aspire: Young refugees’ narratives of family migration and wellbeing

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Abstract

Proposing that the capacity to aspire is a critical component of young people’s wellbeing, this article explores how three young people with refugee backgrounds envision their future, by narratively linking it with their family migration (hi)story and their present life. The analysis draws on student interviews conducted during a 2012–2013 study of Danish upper secondary students’ health and wellbeing in relation to their peers, school life and family life. The three young people’s narratives, entitled ‘aspiring to succeed’, ‘aspiring to heal’ and ‘stuck in (hi)story’, reflect how in different ways they relate past, present and future by drawing on various social, narrative and temporal resources, producing varying senses of agency and capacities to aspire. The young people’s desire to meet parental expectations and heal losses experienced in relation to flight and resettlement may be an aspirational resource or may create a costly pressure.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
ISSN1367-6261
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Appadurai
  • Refugee youth
  • aspirations
  • migration narratives
  • wellbeing

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