Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Immigrant Children’s Connections to People and the World Around Them: A Critical Discourse Review of Academic Literature

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Abstract:  A primary goal of the welfare state is to ensure that children and young people have a good upbringing and that families feel secure. However, several studies indicate that the risk of marginalisation and social exclusion increases, especially among children of low‐income and immigrant families. Why some children seem to be more loosely connected to people and the world around them is poorly understood. Based on a Foucauldian critical discourse review, this article aims to explore the most cited academic discourses on children’s connections to the social and material environment—typically referred to by terms such as “social inclusion,” “social participation,” “social integration,” and “social exclusion.” The main research questions are: What has been addressed in this literature, by whom, and what are the knowledge gaps? Some of the most important observations are that the most influential literature on children’s connections is typically written by psychologists, address children settled in the US, and tends to neglect important explanation factors, such as the material conditions of children’s everyday life. Implications for the (re)production of knowledge and knowledge gaps are discussed.

Keywords:  academic discourse; belonging; children; migration; social inclusion; social integration; social participation


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© Anita Borch. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.