This article discusses the emergence of political subjectivity and politicization among social workers and teachers. We present situations that have induced teachers and social workers to become politically active and examine what their struggle might imply for these unaccompanied children. We also ask how the nation state is interpellated and transformed. Drawing on Laclau, Mouffe and Biesta, we find that political subjectivity emerges in situations with conflicting norms and contradictory interpellations. When Sweden deported unaccompanied refugee children, numerous social workers and teachers found themselves torn between acting as loyal civil servants or acting in accordance with their professional ethics. When representatives from this category emerge as political subjects directed at political change, the nation state becomes unstable and porous, creating possibilities for change.

DOI: 10.1177/0896920519839768
ISSN: 0896-9205