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Familial geopolitics and ontological security: intergenerational relations, migration and minority youth (in)securities in Scotland

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kate Botterill, Professor Peter Hopkins



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2018.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper discusses the family as a site of geopolitics. Bridging scholarship in feminist geopolitics, political psychology and sociology, we explore the psycho-social dynamics of family life and theorise the family as a multi-scalar, relational site of security. Original data collected with ethnic and religious minority youth in Scotland is presented alongside an analysis of how family relations, at interconnected scales, mitigate against and/or re-inscribe broad geopolitical narratives of security. We employ the concept of ontological security (OS) to analyse the role of the family, and the relationships within it, on shaping youth securities. We discuss 1) how family histories and intergenerational experience shape young people’s sense of security; 2) how young people negotiate and resist family norms and values that reproduce securitizing geopolitical narratives; 3) how young people find security when family is absent or indeterminate. In each case, we analyse how geopolitics operates through family life. The paper makes two key contributions: first, we use original empirical data to theorise ethnic and religious minority youth securities; second, we show the value of OS as a conceptual tool for understanding psycho-social dimensions of familial geopolitics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Botterill K, Hopkins P, Sanghera G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geopolitics

Year: 2018

Volume: 25

Issue: 5

Pages: 1138-1163

Online publication date: 15/10/2018

Acceptance date: 24/08/2018

Date deposited: 27/08/2018

ISSN (print): 1465-0045

ISSN (electronic): 1557-3028

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2018.1512098

Notes: Part of a Special Section: Domesticating Geopolitics


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