An absent presence

Rosen, Rachel, S. Crafter, and V. Meetoo. 2019. “An absent presence: Separated child migrants’ caring practices and the fortified neoliberal state.”  Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies online first.

Abstract: This paper explores the ambivalent positioning of separated child migrants in the UK with a focus on the care that they provide for each other. Drawing on interview data with state and non-state adult stakeholders involved in the immigration-welfare nexus, we consider how children’s care practices are viewed and represented. We argue that separated children’s caring practices assume an absent presence in the discourses mobilised by these actors: either difficult to articulate or represented in negative and morally-laden terms, reflective of the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ towards migrants and advanced capitalist constructions of childhood. Such an examination sheds light on the complex state attempts to manage the care and migration regimes, and the way that care can serve as a way of making and marking inclusions and exclusions. Here we emphasise the political consequences for separated child migrants in an age of neoliberal state retrenchment from public provision of care and rising xenophobic nationalism.