Children at the Borders

Abstract: In the wake of a steady flow of child migrants attempting to cross borders and states’ efforts to restrict immigration, various public controversies have arisen about the rights of asylum-seeking children. The ‘moral gap’ between the outcome of democratically enacted laws and the aim of controlling immigration, on the one hand, and public calls to protect the universal rights of asylum seeking children, on the other, have created a political challenge for Western democracies. This thesis sets out to examine two particular settings in which norms about the rights of asylum-seeking children and immigration control have been established and contested over the years: the Swedish Migration Court of Appeal and Sweden’s largest morning paper, Dagens Nyheter. It combines empirically oriented analysis with theoretical enquiry, and it brings the issue of the rights of asylumseeking children into dialogue with the contemporary political-philosophical debate about membership, rights and borders.

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