Family lives on hold: Bureaucratic bordering in male refugees’ struggle for transnational care
Keywords:transnational families, transnational care, refugees, asylum seekers, men, border regime, bureaucratic bordering
This article analyses practices of transnational care and the lives of male asylum seekers and refugee families in the context of increasingly restrictive border and migration regimes. Research on transnationalism, transnational families, and care among forced migrants has emphasised the importance of the institutional context in transnational care and family relations across borders. This article contributes to the extant literature by examining how bureaucratic bordering – within nation states and beyond – restricts the possibilities of refugees in providing care to their family members and reuniting. The article also examines the struggles experienced by male refugees at bureaucratic borders. These struggles reveal a central dimension to transnational care that relates to the bureaucracy of visas and residence permits. The article highlights the importance of temporality and examines how the lives of refugee families are affected by extended and bureaucratically induced waiting. The article is based on ethnographic research conducted on Iraqi and Afghan asylum seekers in Finland in 2017–2019 and focuses on three asylum seekers in particular – namely, Amal, Sajed, and Yasin.