University of Oulu

Kauhanen, I, Kaukko, M. Recognition in the lives of unaccompanied children and youth: A review of the key European literature. Child & Family Social Work. 2020; 25: 875– 883.

Recognition in the lives of unaccompanied children and youth : a review of the key European literature

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Author: Kauhanen, Iida1; Kaukko, Mervi2,3
Organizations: 1Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Faculty of Education and Culture, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
3Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-01-19


This integrative literature review studies well‐being of unaccompanied asylum‐seeking children through the three modes of recognition—love, rights and solidarity—as conceptualized by Axel Honneth. The analysis shows that the children’s basic needs, such as safety, shelter and nutrition, are mostly recognized; however, the systems responsible for the care of unaccompanied children seem to misidentify other essential needs, such as the need for stability, need for caring, family‐like relationships and the need to be heard and seen as unique persons. We suggest that more research is needed to explore how recognition is displayed in the range of institutional, social and cultural structures in which unaccompanied children live. Furthermore, we call for research on how recognition is experienced by the children and youth themselves. It is also argued that practitioners and policy‐makers in social work should be educated about the elements of recognition and that their practices and policies should prioritize the rights and needs of the child over questions of age or immigration status.

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Series: Child & family social work
ISSN: 1356-7500
ISSN-E: 1365-2206
ISSN-L: 1356-7500
Volume: 25
Issue: 4
Pages: 875 - 883
DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12772
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 516 Educational sciences
Funding: The first author has received funding for this research from the Finnish Cultural Foundation, grant number 00180491.
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Child & Family Social Work published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.