• Ane Katrine Hyldal Hess Jensen
  • Therese Nielsen
4. semester, Socialt Arbejde, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The purpose of this master thesis is to examine how asylum-seeking children describe their everyday lives in Denmark, and how they experience meaning despite of the stressful life situation they are in. Our aim is to hear asylum-seeking children’s own stories and the perspectives of children are thereby a vital part of the master thesis.
We apply basic principles from phenomenology and hermeneutics as our theory of science. Both which are characterized as understanding and interpretive social sciences and therefore are applicable to illustrate the perspectives of asylum-seeking children. The thesis is based on a qualitative study with nine asylum-seeking children, age 11-16, attending one of Danish Red Cross’ schools. We have combined six days of participating observation with nine semi-structured interviews, which have contributed to the opportunity of the children pointing out new aspects that could be pertinent in understanding asylum-seeking children’s experience of meaning in their lives.
To illustrate the factors the children perceive as positive and meaningful, we use theory on the research of resilience and coping. We use Suniya Luthar, Dante Cicchetti and Bronwyn Becker to elucidate how the stories of children’s positive circumstances in every day life, can be seen in relation to the protective factors that the research on resilience has called to attention in the lives of vulnerable children. The asylum-seeking children’s stories reflect that friends, family, contact to adults and leisure activities are experienced as the most positive and meaningful aspects of everyday life. These may represent potential factors of protection in the everyday life of asylum-seeking children, but in the absence of these aspects, risk factors such as loneliness and boredom appear. Simultaneously we discuss how acknow-ledgement, attention and solicitude are related to the underlying dynamics of these factors.
Within the perspective of coping we apply Aron Antonovsky and his theory on Sense of Coherence (SOC) to create a conception of asylum-seeking children’s discernment of comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness. It is in the meaning of SOC as a whole we scrutinize the children’s experience of meaning in everyday life. The stories of the children here point out that the structure of the school day, cognitive competence, dream of residency and future jobs as well as the feeling of belonging can contribute to asylum-seeking children’s experience of comprehensibility, manageability and meaningfulness. On the other hand the stories of the children testifies that there are a number of circumstances that can challenge the positive aspects in their lives and their experience of meaning. This partly applies to everyday life in school there for some can be perceived as trivial and repetitive. Finally the uncertainty of residency and movements represents as major encumbrance for asylum-seeking children’s experience of meaning. Overall, the asylum-seeking children had a low level of SOC.
Our thesis, thus contributes to call to attention the positive experiences and potential factors of protection that can occur in everyday life of asylum-seeking children. In addition to that it illustrates how asylum-seeking children experience meaning in everyday life, but the thesis also emphasizes how they perceive a number of structural conditions that negatively impacts their experience of meaning.
Udgivelsesdato29 maj 2015
Antal sider111
ID: 213209381