Small agency and precarious residency in Afghan refugee families
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CitationVuori, Jaana. (2020). Small agency and precarious residency in Afghan refugee families. Family Life in Transition Borders, Transnational Mobility, and Welfare Society in Nordic Countries, -. 10.4324/9780429024832-16.
This chapter examines agency and ways of enduring suffering in Afghan families in a small Finnish town. Three stories, where the mothers and children have lived in Finland for some years already, but the fathers have arrived during the 2015 large scale migration, are presented and analysed. Ethnographic methods are used in enquiring how family-members endure suffering when they are faced with the threat of deportation of a family member. Our results show that fathers’ precarious residency has an impact on family members’ agency. First, the informants were enduring alone, and thus the social element, being able to share one’s struggles of enduring, was missing. Second, it was not only one type suffering, but instead many kinds of sufferings, which formed the situations that the families had to endure. Third, the families did cope with their suffering by self-making though ethical agency, which provided them with culturally significant ways of being respectable. This ethical agency was shared in the community and provided some spaces for support, although not in the form of disclosing specific details of suffering.