This qualitative study provides an ethnographic exploration of the experiences of young refugees (aged 15-25) in Greece as they engage with education, amid and despite their uncertain and precarious conditions – here theorised as (manufactured) conditions of ‘unsettlement’. Instead of focusing only on their deficits – as in much refugee education research – it asks: How do young refugees in Greece experience and navigate ‘unsettlement’ in/via education? This question was iteratively investigated through individual and pair semi-structured interviews with refugee and asylum-seeking youth in Thessaloniki (involving creative tasks), as well as other educational ‘stakeholders’ (such as parents, teachers and non-governmental organisation (NGO) staff). This interview data was triangulated with findings from document analysis and field notes from my participant observation as a volunteer teacher and assistant at four NGOs in the city, including one migrant women’s centre. The findings are presented via a collection of four papers which have either been published in or are under review at four international, peer-reviewed journals, across disciplines. The papers aim to highlight the limited supports and educational opportunities available for refugee youth aged 15+, and the ways in which ‘unsettlement’ shapes their everyday lives and (educational) decision-making – with one paper dedicated to young women’s experiences. At the same time, the papers explore how youth respond to and navigate these challenges both within and outside of education, and the role of educational actors and other relationships in this process. As such, the papers contribute to important discussions of young refugees’ (educational) agency and its relational and collective nature – as well as its gendered dimensions. In addition, throughout the thesis, I touch on the potential of arts-based approaches for better understanding and disseminating young refugees’ perspectives, and the role of arts education in their navigation of precarity. In the individual papers, the thesis uses conceptual lenses from different disciplines to explore and elucidate the nature of the inequality and precarity refugee youth face in Greece, and how they negotiate and chart a path through it. Paper 1 draws from politics and border studies, for example, in analysing how bordering practices permeate their everyday lives; Paper 3 borrows the language of ‘encounters’ from human geography and ‘counterspaces’ from youth, leisure and critical race studies, to conceptualise their interactions in non-formal educational spaces; and Paper 4 dives deeper into the concept of ‘crisis’. In the Discussion, the thesis ties all of these theoretical threads together to provide an overarching account of their ‘unsettlement’ – i.e. the layered forms of (arguably manufactured) uncertainty and precarity which shape their experiences of displacement. To conceptualise how they negotiate, and indeed constantly renegotiate, a way through this unsettlement, the thesis employs the term ‘navigation’ throughout – drawing from anthropology, and specifically the work of Henrik Vigh (2009, 2010). This lens is particularly fitting for movement through a socio-political environment which, as for displaced communities in Greece, is constantly shifting.

DOI: 10.5287/ora-nr6wweboq