Entrenched Ethnic Violence: : An analysis of conflict attitudes among the unaccompanied refugee children in the HVB houses in the Småland Region
Abstract: This research is a field study analyzing conflict attitudes as possible triggers for the conflicts among the unaccompanied refugee children in the HBV houses in the Småland County, Sweden. In order to do so, this study focuses specifically on the causes of the conflicts among the children and to seek a deeper understanding on how these conflict attitudes were acted upon and became the potential triggers for the conflicts. The role of the staff working in these houses and their knowledge of the children's backgrounds and their views regarding the causes of the violence between the children are also scrutinized. Factors that are examined include the children's backgrounds, entrenched historical ethnic and religious violence in their home country that the children might have inherited their conflict attitudes as the result and still carry with into the new environment, Sweden. Interviews were conducted with both the children and the concerning staff in a number of houses in different cities in the Småland county. Triangulation of sources was also used to discuss the history of conflict regarding the children's country and the required data for both the theoretical as well as methodological approaches. The study analyzed the results using Johan Galtung's conflict triangle and its components: behavior, attitudes and contradiction focusing specifically on conflict attitudes in relation to the other two components of the triangle. This theoretical approach is valuable in breaking down the issue in order to get a deeper understanding on different angles. Through interviews with both the unaccompanied children and the concerning staff, this study found that the children do have conflict attitudes and constructed conflict behavior as the result of their previous life in a conflict environment, though there are some other factors that have also played a role and deteriorated the violence between them. The staff’s level of awareness regarding the children's backgrounds, cultural values and sensitivities are considerably inefficient due to their different education majors and lack of proper work experiences with the children coming from the war-torn countries. In some of the conflicts the staff's poor understanding of the children's ethnic and religious violence they inherited from their country have further triggered the conflict among the children. Therefore, there is a need for further in-depth research in future to increase the level of awareness of the Swedish Migration Board, Social Welfare Board, Municipalities and the HBV houses regarding the ethnical and religious violence that the children experienced in their home country.
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