Transnational Child Protection - Knowledge and Service Paths for Social Work
463 305 EUR
University of Oulu
This research project adopts an anthropological approach to investigating child protection and welfare in transnational settings. The project is theoretically situated at the intersections of relational legal theory, rights in context studies, relational anthropology of the state, and migration and transnationalism studies. The project aims to shed light on the meaning-making processes through which individuals and bureaucrats construct state practices, childhood, wellbeing, mobility, and identities in diverse situations, add to our understanding of the needs for protection that children in transnational situations may have and enhance the recognition of abusive situations. It will problematise the privileging of official and doctrinal forms of knowledge about transnational childhoods and the ways in which this knowledge is used to govern those perceived as falling outside the construct of ‘citizen’; whether legally, normatively or socio-culturally. The project aims to provide transparency to the legal framework of transnational child welfare and generate knowledge of transnational child welfare as a site of political struggle over, for example, the ideas underpinning the welfare state, the family, and the child. Furthermore, it will contribute methodologically and conceptually to research on children’s mobility and rights and the related state practices and politics. By using relational anthropology of the state, the projects focuses on three levels of analysis, which are also the main work packages of the project: 1. Relational modalities, 2. Boundary work and 3. Embeddedness.
Multiple data sets will be collected and analysed, including interviews with individuals and bureaucrats; legislation, case and soft law; and political and media materials. Accordingly, multiple methods, including legal, ethnographic, and membership category analysis will be applied. The research data will generate new empirical knowledge and facilitate new theoretical and conceptual understandings of the different relations, meanings, political struggles, state practices, and processes central to the wellbeing of mobile children. By investigating how children’s belonging, citizenship, and agency as rights-holders become constructed in the context of children’s transnational mobility, legal framework, and Finnish child welfare policies, this research project will address a substantive research gap, the importance of which is expected to only grow in the future.
The project collaborates with the NOS-HS funded project Transnational Childhoods, Transnational Rights? Nordic Responses to Global Challenges in the Field of Child Protection (PI Sanna Mustasaari, UEF)