Frontiers of Belonging

The Education of Unaccompanied Refugee Youth

by Annika Lems

Published by: Indiana University Press

264 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 x 0.00 in

This book can be purchased from this website 60 days before the publish date

  • Paperback
  • 9780253061799
  • Published: July 2022

$30.00

This book can be purchased from this website 60 days before the publish date

  • eBook
  • 9780253061812
  • Published: July 2022

$29.99

This book can be purchased from this website 60 days before the publish date

  • Hardcover
  • 9780253061782
  • Published: July 2022

$75.00

As unprecedented numbers of unaccompanied African minors requested asylum in Europe in 2015, Annika Lems noticed a strange phenomenon: despite inclusionary language in the official policies, these children were victims of exclusionary practices in classrooms.

Frontiers of Belonging traces the educational paths of refugee youth arriving in Switzerland amid the shifting sociopolitical terrain of the refugee crisis and the underlying hierarchies of deservingness. Lems refers to the students' experiences as inclusive exclusion and reveals how these minors needed protection and integration, especially in educational settings, but were instead treated as threats to the economic and cultural integrity of Switzerland. Each chapter highlights a specific child's story—Jamila, Meron, Samuel, and more—as they found themselves left out, while on paper being allowed "in." The result is a highly ambiguous social reality for young refugees, resulting in stressful, existential balancing acts.

A captivating ethnography, Frontiers of Belonging allows readers into the Swiss classrooms where unspoken distinctions between self and other, guest and host, refugee and resident, were formed, policed, and challenged.