chapter  7
18 Pages

Ali’s Disappearance: The Tension of Moving and Dwelling in the Norwegian Welfare Society

WithAda I. Engebrigtsen

In this article I address the tension*experienced by many young migrants*between pursuing individual goals and dreams for the future in Norwegian society, and fulfilling

their responsibilities to family, kin and ethnic community. The discussion starts with the

story of Ali, a young Somali boy who was sent abroad by his relatives in Norway to look

after an aunt in Italy. The discussion centres around three issues. The first concerns the

nomadic habitus and its relation to person, space and place; the second is about how

space and self are constructed in the Norwegian welfare discourse of integration; and the

third explores the overlapping expectations and interests implied in these different ways

of structuring individuality and collectivity. The article concludes by emphasising the

importance of considering both collective and individual motives, drives and

responsibilities in analysing the lives of young migrants.