• Mariann Eliassen
4. semester, Global Refugee Studies, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Unaccompanied minors inhabit an ambivalent position within the Danish asylum system. As both children and asylum seekers, they are subjected to two separate prices of legislation and policy frameworks, which sometimes conflict. As the focus of the asylum regime in Denmark has moved from human protection to immigration control, this ambivalence has become even clearer.

Through an analysis of the changes to policies relating to unaccompanied minors in the Danish Aliens Act from 2010, this thesis explores the different ways unaccompanied minors are treated within the asylum system depending on how they are defined as either children first or asylum seekers first. It uses the post- structuralist tools of genealogy and deconstruction to break down the policy. It builds on Laclau and Mouffe’s theory of hegemony through discursive struggle to how the categories defined in the policy and how they are positioned in relation to each other.

The results from applying the six questions from the ”what is the problem represented to be” method for policy analysis show that the policies restricting who is given access to protection in Denmark contributes to giving the ’asylum seeker’ identity hegemony over the ’child’ identity. This in turn affects how the minors are treated and what is expected from them. The study also finds that the representation that is created of unaccompanied minors as a ’problem’ justifies the state’s restrictive policies and use of indirect deterrence measures to discourage future arrivals of unaccompanied minors.
The thesis ultimately argues that the representation of the problem and the proposed solutions constitutes a form of deterrence that can infringe on the mi- nor’s right to a secure childhood. It finds that the way the categories are handled and either suppressed or elevated constitutes a form of power which can be used to achieve specific political goals. In this context, the goals are immigration control.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2018
Antal sider55
ID: 280180909