Se också information om föreläsningar och seminarier inom Forum för forskning om transnationell migration.



CEIFO seminar

Monday February 5, 13.00–14.30, B600
Niina Vuolajärvi, PhD candidate, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and visiting researcher, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Governing in the Name of Caring – The Nordic Model of Prostitution and Its Punitive Consequences for Migrants

A new trend has taken place in international prostitution policies. Sweden was the first country to claim a new feminist approach to prostitution and shift its prostitution policies towards abolishing commercial sex by criminalizing the act of buying sexual services, while decriminalizing the selling of sex. Sweden adopted the Sex Purchase Act in 1999, followed by Norway in 2009. Finland adopted a partial criminalization in 2006. Many anti-trafficking activists promote the Nordic approach as the best tool to combat sex trafficking and protect women in commercial sex, and, despite the lack consensus whether the law has been successful in its goals, the model has spread globally over the last five years to Europe, North America, and Southeast Asia.

Relying on over two years of ethnographic fieldwork and around 200 interviews with sex workers, social and health care workers, the police, and policy-makers, this paper examines the Nordic prostitution model and its intersection with immigration policies in three countries that have adopted some degree of client criminalization: Finland, Norway, and Sweden. My fieldwork findings show that in a situation where the majority of people who sell sex – 60-75% – in the region are migrants, the regulation of commercial sex has shifted from prostitution to immigration policies, resulting in a double standard in the governance of national and foreign sex workers. My fieldwork reveals a tension between the stated feminist-humanitarian aims of the model, to protect and save women, and the punitivist governance of commercial sex that in practice leads to control, deportations, and women’s working conditions becoming more difficult. The paper concludes that when examined in action the Nordic model is a form of humanitarian governance that I call punitivist humanitarianism, or governing in the name of caring.

Niina Vuolajärvi is a doctoral student at Rutgers University, Department of Sociology. In her ethnographic PhD research "Precarious Intimacies – Migration and Sex Work in the Nordic Region", she combines migration and precarization research perspectives to the inquiries of intimacies and commercial sex. Her PhD project focuses the so-called Nordic prostitution model and its intersection with immigration policies in three countries that have adopted some degree of client criminalization: Finland, Norway, and Sweden. The broader theoretical question of the thesis explores the role of law in shaping intimacies. For more information on her work see:


CEIFO seminar

Monday February 12, 13.00–14.30, B600
Livia Johannesson, PhD, Department of Political Science, Stockholm University

In Courts We Trust: Administrative Justice in Swedish Migration Courts

In my research I have investigated how judicial practices generate administrative justice in asylum determination procedures. Previous research on immigration policies argues that when asylum determinations are processed in courts, principles of administrative justice are ensured and immigrants’ rights protected. I scrutinize that argument by approaching administrative justice as an empirical phenomenon open for different types of interpretations. Instead of assuming that administrative justice characterizes courts, I assume that this concept acquires particular meanings through the practices of the courts.

Empirically, this dissertation studies practices of assessing asylum claims at the Swedish migration courts. By interviewing and observing judges at the migration courts, litigators from the Migration Board and public counsels from different law firms, this interpretive and ethnographic study analyzes how administrative justice acquires meanings in the daily practices of assessing asylum claims at the migration courts.

The main result is that a ceremonial version of administrative justice is generated at the migration courts. This version of administrative justice forefronts symbolic dimensions of justice. The asylum appeal procedure succeeds in communicating justice through rituals, building design and metaphors, which emphasize objectivity, impartiality and certainty on behalf of the judicial practices. However, these symbols of justice disguise several unfair aspects of the asylum appeal procedure. The implications of these findings are that immigration policy research needs to reconsider the relationship between the courts and immigrants’ rights by paying more attention to the everyday practices of ensuing administrative justice in courts than on the instances when courts oppose political attempts to restrict immigrants’ rights.

Livia Johannesson is a political scientist specialized in immigration research, public administration and interpretive policy analysis. She defended her dissertation thesis in March 2017, which dealt with Swedish asylum policy and the role of courts in determining asylum claims. Livia often uses ethnographic methods in her research and has co-authored an introductory book to ethnography for political science. Currently, she studies decision-making in mega-project planning as she is part of a research project about the new University Hospital in Stockholm, Nya Karolinska Solna.


CEIFO seminar

Thursday February 22, 10.00–12.00, B600
Thomas Faist, Professor, Bielefeld University

From Voice to Exit? Cross-Border Migration as a Transnational Social Question from the 19th to the 21st Century

On a world scale, distress and social instability are reminiscent of the social inequalities that obtained in a large part of nineteenth-century Europe. At that time the social question was the central subject of extremely volatile political conflicts between the ruling classes and working-class movements. Are we now on the verge of a new social conflict, this time on a world scale, characterized by manifold boundaries – such as those between capital and labour, global North and global South? This lecture traces exit and voice as the principal options for potential cross-border migrants from the late 19th century until the contemporary period. One major feature underlying the causes and dynamics of cross-border migration in Europe over the past 200 years has been social inequalities between regions of emigration, transit and immigration and within these regions. The politicization of such inequalities which refer to cross-border flows can be called the transnational social question. It becomes clear that an interpretation of the late 19th and early 20th century as the time of voice with respect to working class organization and of today as the time of exit in the face of an “age of migration” would be misleading. Instead, there are distinctive combinations of exit, voice and loyalty across time. Markedly, four long-term trends from the late 19th & early 20th century, through the post-World War Two period and the 21st century can be discerned: (1) the development of national welfare states as the main regulators of social protection as a response to political struggles around social inequalities; (2) the gradual emergence of sophisticated state migration control; (3) a perception of increasing heterogeneities and their politicization beyond class; and (4) in contrast to the 19th century and part of the 20th century a lack of a coherent theory around the social question which would be able to mobilize politically and intellectually. Instead, we find a multitude of theories and multiple new social movements.

See also filmed lecture with Thomas Faist: “Social Inequalities: What Role for Transnationality?

Thomas Faist is professor of Sociology of Transnationalization, Development & Migration at Bielefeld University. Professor Faist is a world-leading scholar in the research on cross-border migration but also on citizenship and development issues. Among his most famous publications are The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration and Transnational Social Spaces (Oxford 2000); Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories and Methods (with Rainer Bauböck, IMISCOE 2010) and Transnational Migration (with Fauser and Reisenauer, Cambridge 2013).



CEIFO seminar

Thursday March 15, 10.00–12.00, D900 (NB)
Peter Gatrell, Professor, University of Manchester

Writing migration into a history of Europe since 1945

I am writing a history of Europe since 1945 seen through the prism of migration. Europe has always been a continent of people on the move; it’s difficult to imagine any part of the continent that has been untouched by migration of one kind or another. The continent’s history and the history of individual European countries have been shaped by migration, by people voluntarily and often quietly crossing international frontiers or moving within a single country, by people who have migrated in order to escape from violence, by people who have been deported, and by those who didn’t migrate.

My book will begin with dead bodies: ‘People trying every way to get out in boats. Bigger ships could not come in, only little ships. I remember there was an old lady left to die, screaming. No-one to help her. Left to herself. We were lucky. We get out on little ship and then to big ship … There was no water in town. Canals full of dead people’. There are many more stories in the same vein, of individuals being literally as well as metaphorically engulfed. One eye-witness recalled: ‘the stench was terrible. There was no air. We didn’t know where we were going. We didn’t know how long we’d be on the ship. We couldn’t see anything’. Migration is partly about engulfment. The first quotation is the testimony of a Latvian refugee, describing the journey she made from the Baltic coast to Lübeck, in a desperate attempt to evade the Soviet Red Army in May 1945. The second is a quotation from the words of an Algerian woman described being transported to France in 1962, along with hundreds of other harkis, Algerians and their families who fought on behalf of the French during the bitter conflict over the status of Algeria.

Historical testimony such as this can make us sit up and take notice. It can prompt us to think about what is familiar and what is unfamiliar about migration and about how migration is and has been represented. It has the capacity to challenge unwarranted suggestions that what happens today is ‘unprecedented’. Precedents direct our attention to the scale and suddenness of migration, as in ‘refugee crisis’, but also require us to think about motives, opportunities and constraints on people who migrate. As the late Adam McKeown put it: ‘the arguments about migration are numbingly familiar … the intractable positions of migration debates seem to be trapped in an incestuous cycle of call and response that has little to do with the dynamics of migration itself’. In my presentation I want to talk about dynamics – changes in political, economic and other contexts – and about the aspirations of migrants, against the backdrop of constraints of numerous kinds.

Peter Gatrell teaches history at the University of Manchester where he is also affiliated to the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute. He is the author of a trilogy of books on refugee history, including A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia during World War 1 (1999) and The Making of the Modern Refugee (2013). His latest book, co-edited with Lyubov Zhvanko, is Europe on the Move: Refugees in the Era of the Great War, 1912-1923 (2017). He is currently writing a history of migration in/to Europe since 1945, for Penguin Books and Basic Books.

Organised together with the Department of History (Modernhistoriska seminariet), Stockholm University.



CEIFO seminar

Tuesday April 17, 13.00–14.30, B600
Anju Mary Paul, Associate Professor, Yale-NUS College, Division of Social Sciences (Sociology)

Is The Trailing Wife Always Disadvantaged?: Varying Contexts Of Return For The Wives Of Western-Trained Asian Scientists

Asian scientists who train in the West may settle down overseas or may choose to return to Asia at some point in their careers. For returning scientists who are married, this return decision will also impact their spouse.

Drawing from 50 interviews with Western-trained, Asian academic bioscientists and/or their spouses who returned to China, India, Singapore or Taiwan as a result of husband-directed or joint-directed decision-making, I examine the return experiences of trailing wives. I find significant variations in these experiences across the group of trailing wives as a whole, as well as within any given wife’s post-return experience. A typology of supportive and unsupportive “contexts of return” is proposed to highlight how social, cultural, legal, and economic factors influence the post-return experience of trailing wives, independent of husbands’ gender role attitudes, and challenge the stereotype of the disadvantaged trailing spouse.

Anju Mary Paul is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Yale-NUS College, Singapore. She is an international migration scholar with a research focus on migration to, from, and within Asia. She is especially interested in how gender, labour, race and ethnicity, as well as class, intersect at the moment of migration and the post-migration experience. Her research spans the migrations of low-wage Asian migrant domestic workers as well as high-skilled Asian-born, Western-trained bioscientists. She has published sole-authored articles in several journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Migration Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Her books include Multinational Maids (Cambridge University Press 2017) and Local Encounters in a Global City (Ethos Books 2017).

Organised together with Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University.



CEIFO seminar

Monday May 7, 13.00–14.30, B600
Megha Amrith, PhD, Max Planck Institute for The Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Ageing, migration and translocal mobilities in global perspective

My work has studied the relationship between care and migration, with an ethnographic exploration of the everyday co-presence of Filipino care workers and residents of an older-age nursing home in Singapore. These encounters involve frequent negotiations of religious, ethnic and linguistic boundaries, and they challenge particular expectations and understandings of care in the region. This research led me to the questions that sit at the heart of my new research group ‘Ageing in a Time of Mobility’, which examines the intersections between ageing, migration and translocal mobilities. My talk will set out the group’s research agenda: an investigation into how ageing and mobility jointly shape and respond to social, cultural and political-economic transformations, with a focus on regions of the ‘Global South’ that are rapidly ageing but that have not been widely featured in academic and policy research agendas on ageing migrants. It will consider the diverse range of relationships between ageing and mobility including the experiences of displaced older refugees; the formation of new communities among people who migrate in later life; and the active role of those who do not necessarily migrate, yet whose lives are profoundly shaped by translocal mobilities. Conceptually, questions of care, kinship, home, memory, citizenship and inequality sit at the project’s core. I will illustrate these broader questions with a closer look at how older returning migrants and those ‘left behind’ are building new retirement communities in the Asian context, and the capitalist political-economic forces that underlie these developments.

Megha Amrith is Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity for the project ‘Ageing in a Time of Mobility’. From 2014 - 2017, she was Research Fellow at the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility in Barcelona, working to connect academic and policy debates on migration. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and her doctoral work was an ethnography of Filipino migrant care and medical workers in Singapore. Her research interests include transnational migration, urban diversity, care, labour, citizenship and ageing. She is the author of Caring for Strangers: Filipino Medical Workers in Asia (NIAS Press, 2017) and co-editor of the forthcoming book Gender, Work and Migration (Routledge, 2018).


CEIFO seminar

Thursday May 24, 15.00–17.00, E420
Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research, New York

Innocence, Care and the Politics of Sanctuary?

This talk will explore the relationship of innocence and care, particularly in humanitarian situations, with the goal of reconfiguring and reclaiming a more radical political concept of care that works across temporalities and affective registers. Is a non-innocent form of political care possible? If so, what does it look like? I will draw on recent feminist theories of care, and think with other political movements, such as that for “expanded sanctuary”; ultimately, the talk will push anthropological methods into the speculative: how might we imagine, design and amplify possible alternate political forms?

Miriam Ticktin is Associate Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. Her research has focused in the broadest sense on what it means to make political claims in the name of a universal humanity. She is the author of Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France (University of California Press, 2011) and In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care (co-edited with Ilana Feldman, Duke University Press, 2010), along with many other articles and book chapters. She is a founding editor of the journal Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development. Ticktin is currently at work on two related book projects: 1) a short book on innocence as a political concept, and how it produces an unending search for purity; 2) a book on practices of containment at the border, from border walls to spaces of quarantine.