© 2016

Contested Childhoods: Growing up in Migrancy

Migration, Governance, Identities

  • Marie Louise Seeberg
  • Elżbieta M. Goździak


  • This open access book is selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2017

  • Features studies of different child migrancy situations that provide a solid empirical basis for theoretical advances

  • Shows how social categories of childhood are challenged when children grow up in migrancy

  • Presents material from the United States, Norway, Denmark, Czech Republic, and the UK

Open Access

Part of the IMISCOE Research Series book series (IMIS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Marie Louise Seeberg, Elżbieta M. Goździak
    Pages 1-19 Open Access
  3. International Migration

  4. Governance

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 79-79
    2. Ada I. Engebrigtsen
      Pages 81-98 Open Access
  5. Identities

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 119-119
    2. Andrea Svobodová, Eva Janská
      Pages 121-137 Open Access
    3. Helene Bang Appel, Rashmi Singla
      Pages 139-157 Open Access
    4. Elżbieta M. Goździak, Marie Louise Seeberg
      Pages 179-188 Open Access
  6. Marie Louise Seeberg, Elżbieta M. Goździak
    Pages E1-E1 Open Access
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 189-193

About this book


This book is open access under a CC BY-NC 2.5 license.

This book explores specific migration, governance, and identity processes currently involving children and ideas of childhood. Migrancy as a social space allows majority populations to question the capabilities of migrants, and is a space in which an increasing number of children are growing up. In this space, families, nation-states, civil society, as well as children themselves are central actors engaged in contesting the meaning of childhood. Childhood is a field of conceptual, moral and political contestation, where the ‘battles’ may range from minor tensions and everyday negotiations of symbolic or practical importance involving a limited number of people, to open conflicts involving violence and law enforcement. The chapters demonstrate the importance of how we understand phenomena involving children: when children are trafficked, seeking refuge, taken into custody, active in gangs or in youth organisations, and struggling with identity work. This book examines countries representing very different engagements and policies regarding migrancy and children. As a result, readers are presented with a comprehensive volume ideal for both the classroom and for policy-makers and practitioners. The chapters are written by experts in social anthropology, human geography, political science, sociology, and psychology.


Child-centred migration research Children in Migrancy Integration and transnationality Migrant childhoods Second generation

Editors and affiliations

  • Marie Louise Seeberg
    • 1
  • Elżbieta M. Goździak
    • 2
  1. 1.NOVAOslo and Akershus University CollegeOsloNorway
  2. 2.ISIMGeorgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Contested Childhoods: Growing up in Migrancy
  • Book Subtitle Migration, Governance, Identities
  • Editors Marie Louise Seeberg
    Elżbieta M. Goździak
  • Series Title IMISCOE Research Series
  • Series Abbreviated Title IMISCOE Research Series
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016
  • License CC BY-NC
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-44608-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-83094-0
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-44610-3
  • Series ISSN 2364-4087
  • Series E-ISSN 2364-4095
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 193
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Migration
    Child and School Psychology
    Political Science
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“The book is not only useful to the field of migration studies, but also to the field of childhood studies. … The book’s arguments are well-supported by empirical evidence, and the conceptual framing of ‘contested childhoods’ and ‘growing up in migrancy’ make this a recommended read for both researchers and practitioners.” (Michael Boampong, Global Studies of Childhood, September 21, 2020)

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2017

“In 10 extremely well-written chapters, these authors explore patterns of international migration, the politics and policies that drive them, and, most importantly, the effect of this transitory narrative on the identities of the migrant children themselves. … This compelling text is a must read for anyone no longer satisfied with being merely a spectator in the migrant crisis unfolding in front of the world; it will help propel readers toward informed action. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries.” (J. C. Altman, Choice, Vol. 55 (1), September, 2017) 

“This rich, wide-ranging collection of papers transforms the long-standing debate about the ‘second generation’ into an original account of childhood and growing up under conditions of migration which should be of considerable interest well beyond the field of migration studies.” (Ralph Grillo, University of Sussex) 

“This edited collections charts new ground in migration and childhood studies.  It successfully highlights the complex ways in which children can be simultaneous members of different societies shifting the debate away from a prevalent focus on ‘immigrant children’ or ‘second generation youth’. It also effectively distinguishes between normative childhood and childhood at the level of practice. The gap between the two, as the books documents, can be wide and this has important implications for policy making and the lives of these children.” (Dr Elisabetta Zontini, Lead of the Research Centre on Identity, Citizenship, Equalities and Migration, University of Nottingham)

“This book illuminates the intersection of “contested childhoods” and “growing up in migrancy” that contests the very meaning of childhood and sometimes produces violent conflicts. It will engage, challenge and enlighten those interested in new understandings of childhood/s and migrancy.” (Prof Ann Phoenix, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, UK)