University of Oulu

Petäjäniemi, M., Kaukko, M., & Lanas, M. (2021). Confined in Waiting: Young Asylum Seekers Narrating In and Out of Temporary Shelter. YOUNG, 29(1), 62–80.

Confined in waiting : young asylum seekers narrating in and out of temporary shelter

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Author: Petäjäniemi, Maria1; Kaukko, Mervi2; Lanas, Maija1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2020-12-18


This research considers the waiting and confinement experienced by young asylum seekers during and after their stay at a temporary shelter in Finland. The data for this research consists of interviews and ethnographic ‘hanging out’ with nine young asylum seekers throughout their asylum process. In order to generate new knowledge about the situated and fluid experiences of young adult asylum seekers’ confinement, this article focuses on four in-depth interviews with two young men, Kokab and Mahammed. They arrived in Finland in 2015, and are, at the time of writing this article, still waiting for their final asylum decisions. The results show, first, that while the time in the temporary shelter resembles physical, punitive confinement, it is also experienced as warm and social time. Second, the article argues that the confinement of young asylum seekers extends beyond the physical confinement, as they are for years confined in forced movement, indefinite waiting and othered as a number in the system.

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Series: Young
ISSN: 1103-3088
ISSN-E: 1741-3222
ISSN-L: 1103-3088
Volume: 29
Issue: 1
Pages: 62 - 80
DOI: 10.1177/1103308820904271
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: The first author received financial support for the research from the Finnish Cultural Foundation.
Copyright information: © 2020 SAGE Publications and YOUNG Editorial group. The final authenticated version is available online at