Childhood in the migrant city: Statelessness, exclusion and modes of belonging amongst children of irregular migrants and refugees in East Malaysia
- Start date: 01 June 2012
- End date: 30 November 2014
This research explores the everyday lives of the children of undocumented migrants and refugees in the city of Kota Kinabalu (KK), the capital of the East Malaysian state of Sabah.Through 12 months of child-focused ethnographic fieldwork, followed by 14 months of writing-up and analysis, the research will investigate the prevalence of statelessness, and its implications for children’s experiences of city life, work and education. Malaysia is an important place to study these issues, since it has one of the highest rates of undocumented workers in the world, yet the daily experiences of these workers and their families are unexamined in the literature.
The research will produce detailed qualitative data on the mobile, urban lives of undocumented children, and will contribute to theoretical and methodological scholarship on the role of children in long-term processes of migration.
The research aims to generate a new theoretical framework for understanding children’s experiences of ‘illegality’, which will be of interest not only to academic researchers but also to NGOs and UN bodies focused on migrant, refugee and child rights.The project’s findings will be communicated in briefing papers, scholarly articles and a book, but also through a website of children’s images and stories.