Sandra Wallman, Emeritus Professor, University College London

Mobile Identities: reflections on Temporariness

Sandra Wallman
Sandra Wallman

This paper is an early draft of my part in EU research on “Mobile Identities” – viz. on temporary non-EU migrants legally working in EU countries. Our brief is to compare temporary migration policies, their implementation and outcome over five countries in the Union: Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain and UK. Three of us at UCL are responsible for the UK piece.

At issue is the well-being of the temporary migrants and the positive and negative effects of their temporary migrations on sending and receiving countries. My particular aim is to understand the effects of temporariness as such on the actions and identities of individual migrants.

We don’t yet have completed interview data. So far I depend on anthropological analyses made for other purposes - among them Bawa Yamba’s pilgrim study and my own work on identity and the future; and some literary/philosophical sources – notably Arthur Miller’s autobiography Timebends.  

Sandra Wallman is Emeritus Professor at University College London and received her PhD in social anthropology at London School of Economics in 1965. She is a leading, very productive social anthropologist in urban ethnicity studies, and has also engaged in extensive research on rural development. Among her important books is also Contemporary Futures (ed., 1992), a pioneer work on anthropological future perspectives. Wallman has been based at London School of Economics, University of Toronto, University of Hull, University College London and at the Ethnic Relations Research Unit of the Social Science Research Council, UK. Her field studies have been in Southern and Eastern Africa (for one period focusing on AIDS issues), Britain (primarily London) and the Italian Alps. These studies have also included development of new field methodology.

Sandra Wallman is among Stockholm University’s honorary doctorates 2014.

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