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

Iida Kauhanen, Mervi Kaukko

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    6 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)875-883
    Number of pages9
    JournalChild & Family Social Work
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


    • asylum
    • love
    • recognition
    • rights
    • solidarity
    • unaccompanied minors

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