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Coming of Age in Madrid

An Oral History of Unaccompanied Moroccan Migrant Minors

Susan Plann is UCLA Research Professor of Chicano Studies and Spanish and Portuguese, having retired in 2017. She is the author of three books and numerous articles. Her study of the Spanish Deaf community as a linguistic and cultural minority called for comparison of Spanish Sign Language with Spain’s co-official languages (Basque, Catalan, Galician, …), and this sparked an interest in the status of the Arabic language in Spain. The result was an important article on this topic, which involved qualitative interviewing which in turn led to the research presented in Coming of Age in Madrid.

Coming of Age in Madrid is a longitudinal study of twenty-seven Moroccan youth who migrated to Madrid as unaccompanied minors, passed their adolescence in the Spanish child-care system, and embarked on their lives as young adults; interviews were conducted over a period of six years in Spain and Morocco. The stories begin with narrators’ lives in Morocco, contextualizing their migratory experience, then follows them – children traveling alone – as they across the Strait of Gibraltar and make their way to Madrid; the study also engages with those who were deported, crossing the Strait once again as they were returned to Morocco. Using qualitative interviews to capture narrators’ accounts in their own words, this oral history examines their identity trans/formation, integration, and acculturation in Spain. Their individual voices and their collective wisdom contribute to an understanding of their experiences and by extension, that of unaccompanied child migrants everywhere, revealing larger lessons to be learned. Documenting their transition into adulthood, the book poses the crucial question, What becomes of unaccompanied migrant minors when they come of age?

Unaccompanied minor migration is on the rise throughout the world, it is the new normal. As Spain and other nations grapple with increasing numbers of unaccompanied children on their borders, the importance of this study has immediate relevance for government policies and migration research. The history of unaccompanied Moroccan minors coming of age in Madrid contributes to the broader geographical discussion by responding to calls for contextualized, micro-scale, local research and the foregrounding and centralizing of the young migrants themselves.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-941-8
Hardback Price: £65.00 / $85.00
Release Date: December 2018
Page Extent / Format: 340 pp. 234 x 156 mm
Illustrated: Yes


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