Vulnerability, Embedded Agency, and Downward Social Mobility of Young Asylum Seekers




young asylum seekers, intersectional discrimination, intersectional vulnerability, social navigation, embedded agency, downward social mobility


From an intersectional perspective, the situational and inherent vulnerability faced by two young asylum seekers in Catalonia, Spain, were analyzed through case studies that illustrate how these young people navigated within unpredictable and changing environments that hampered their embedded agency. Their settlement as social navigation highlights the temporal dimensions of the migration process. Waiting was also a key element that marked and regulated their settlement from a normative, relational, and existential dimension. The results highlight downward social mobility and precarious integration into the host society due to institutional, structural, and socio-cultural constraints.


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Author Biography

Mara Gabrielli, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain

Mara Gabrielli holds a Ph.D. in Education from the Faculty of Education, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) (Spain). She can be reached at


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How to Cite

Gabrielli, M. (2023). Vulnerability, Embedded Agency, and Downward Social Mobility of Young Asylum Seekers. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 39(1), 1–14.