Questioning care: ambiguous relational ethics between a refugee child, her parents and the Danish welfare state

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Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, in this article, I tell the story of a particular Syrian family and their encounter with a day-care institution in Denmark – and by extension with the Danish state. In doing so, I highlight how the initially legitimate worries and genuine care of the institution turned into a form of ‘coercive concern’ (Jaffe-Walter 2016) as the family failed to fully meet the
requirements of the Danish educational/ integration regime. I show the problematic transition that occurred in the approach to Aisha as the pedagogues moved from seeing her as a vulnerable refugee in need of care to seeing her as a ‘problem of integration’. Highlighting glimpses of alternative pedagogical
approaches, which were co-present though undermined, I argue for the value of relational care as entailing emphatic listening and presence (Noddings 2013). I thus point to the value of doubt and dialogue, rather than a stifled form of certainty through adhering to specific pedagogical mantras vis-à-vis integration policy.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Inclusive Education
Vol/bind25
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)196-209
Antal sider14
ISSN1360-3116
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2021

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