CEIFO seminar

September 13, 14.00–16.00, B600
Anja Kublitz, Associate Professor, Aalborg University

The Rhythm of Rupture: Attunement among Danish Jihadists

Among my interlocutors, the Arab Spring of 2011 was received as a miracle that cut through the existing political order and called upon them to radically change their lives. From one day to the next, they gave up on their criminal careers, turned towards God and decided to travel to the Middle East to take up arms. The majority of young Danish jihadists have grown up in the context of Danish housing projects and in the shadow of their parents’ failed revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. Based on long-term fieldwork among immigrants in Denmark, this paper explores how my interlocutors attune to the recursive ruptures that always are new again. I argue that sometimes people’s lives are so marked by ruptures that any continuity has collapsed; sometimes ruptures only come as rhythms: as continuous repetition of potential radical change.

Anja Kublitz is an associate professor at the Department of Culture and Globalization, University of Aalborg. For the last ten years, she has worked on how conflicts reconfigure space and time and forge political subjectivities. Empirically, she has explored these questions through studies of Middle Eastern refugees in Denmark. Currently she is heading a research project entitled “Affective Events. An Anthropological Study of the Social Formation of Danish Foreign Fighters” and are part of another research project entitled “Escalation: a Comparative Ethnographic Study of Accelerating Change.” Her publications include “From Revolutionaries to Muslims: Liminal Becoming across Palestinian Generations in Denmark.” International Journal Middle East Studies. 2016, 48:64-86; and (with Lars Højer, Stine Simonsen Puri and Andreas Bandak) “Escalations: Theorizing sudden accelerating change.” Anthropological Theory 2018, 18(1):36-58.



CEIFO seminar

October 8, 13.00–14.30, B600
Laura Machat-From, PhD, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linköping University

Identity, Old(er) Age and Migrancy: A Social Constructionist Lens

Identity research in relation to ethnicity and migration has tended to focus on younger people whilst identity research in relation to ageing and old(er) age has not focused on migrants. This inadvertent mutual neglect has led to a lack of identity research that examines the identity categories of old(er) age and migrancy together, a lacuna that this dissertation aims to redress. This dissertation departs from a social constructionist understanding of identity as situationally accomplished in the interplay between how one defines oneself (internally) and how others define one (externally). The questions raised by this perspective and addressed in this dissertation are: When (in what situations) and in relation to whom do old(er) age and migrancy (respectively) seem to become meaningful for identification? How do the identity categories of old(er) age and migrancy seem to be negotiated? The empirical material consists of in-depth interviews with 24 older migrants (13 men, 11 women) aged between 55 and 79 who have been living in Sweden for 18 to 61 years. Interviewees come from 12 different countries that vary in perceived cultural distance from Sweden. The findings suggest that identifications with old(er) age and migrancy seem to be dynamic and flexible rather than necessarily permanently meaningful, thus gaining meaning in specific situations and in relation to particular Others. External definitions furthermore do not always seem to match with internal ones. Regardless of how old(er) age and migrancy are constructed, they seem to be negotiable. This dissertation thus contributes to identity research by studying old(er) age and migrancy together and furthermore sheds light onto how the social constructionist lens allows us to see variability where stability otherwise would be presumed.

Laura Machat-From earned her PhD in 2017 with her dissertation Identity, Old(er) Age and Migrancy: A Social Constructionist Lens. Besides her PhD in Ageing and Later Life from Linköping University, Laura holds a Master’s degree in Migration and Ethnic Studies from the University of Amsterdam and a BA in European Social and Political Studies from University College London. Her research combines the thematic areas of ageing and later life and migration and ethnic studies and draws upon both sociology and social anthropology. Whilst pursuing her PhD, Laura was editorial assistant and book review editor for International Journal of Ageing and Later Life.


Guest Lecture in Forum for Transnational Migration Research

October 11, 15.00–17.00, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Thomas Faist, Professor, Bielefeld University

A Transnational Approach to Migration: Concepts and Empirical Applications

This seminar examines the transnational approach in migration studies. First, we discuss the conceptualizations of the transnational perspective on cross-border relations and efforts at systematization. Second, we apply a transnational perspective on cross-border migration by focusing on the three T’s: transnationalization, transnational social spaces, and transnationality. This part includes a typology of transnationalization in which transnational social spaces are differentiated according to transnationality, the kind and extent of cross-border relations in various realms of social life. Third, we apply a transnational approach empirically, dealing with the social security of migrants and their families across borders in selected transnational social spaces. Finally, we discuss some venues for further research through a transnational optic where the focus should be on changing social and symbolic boundaries, as social spaces are composed of dynamic processes.

Recommended reading: Thomas Faist, Margit Fauser, Eveline Reisenauer. 2013. Transnational Migration. Cambridge: Polity.

Thomas Faist is professor of Sociology of Transnationalization, Development & Migration at Bielefeld University and directs the Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development (COMCAD). Professor Faist has contributed to 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 UP 2000); Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories and Methods (with Rainer Bauböck, IMISCOE 2010) and Transnational Migration (with Fauser and Reisenauer, Cambridge 2013). His forthcoming book is The Transnationalized Social Question: Migration and the Politics of Social Inequalities in the Twenty-First Century (Oxford UP 2018). Professor Faist is an advisor on migration & mobility to various civil society organizations.


CEIFO seminar

October 22, 13.00–14.30, B600
Aurora Massa, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Trento

Going back to an unknown place. Homemaking practices and experiences of (im)mobility of Ethiopian returnees from Eritrea

Recently (summer 2018), Ethiopia and Eritrea put an end to the “no war-no peace” situation that had lasted since the 1998-2000 border conflict. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the northern Ethiopian town of Mekelle, at the border with Eritrea, this talk looks back at the border conflict and explores the forced repatriation of Ethiopian communities from Eritrea that has occurred over the last decades. By analysing the returnees’ attempts to make a home in Mekelle, my aim is to critically address sedentaristic perspectives on return and to show how different (im)mobilities interlock. Indeed, due to numerous factors, i.e. separation from their “everyday-home”, the diffidence of the Ethiopian society, lack of humanitarian support, and their marginality within the Ethiopian imagined community, repatriation often proved difficult and painful, fuelling a feeling of being in transit. Looking back, the elderly frequently experienced a condition of estrangement. Their desire to return to Eritrea took the form of a social imaginary that guided them in the present and future. Looking ahead, many young people saw Ethiopia as a step toward Western countries. By playing with symbolic boundaries and legal labels, they turned their experiences from Eritrea into a mobility capital in order to take advantage of the current refugee regime. From these insights, this talk questions static interpretations of mobility, shedding light on how different mobility regimes intersect with migrants’ life stories and cautions against the use of concepts such as forced, transit and return migration.

Aurora Massa is a postdoctoral fellow at University of Trento and is specialized in medical anthropology and migration studies. She holds a MA in cultural anthropology from Sapienza-University of Rome, and earned her PhD at Bergamo University. Recently, she has studied mobility within and from the Horn of Africa, conducting extensive ethnographic research in Ethiopia on Eritrean refugees and Ethiopian returnees, and on transit migration in Italy. Her main fields of inquiry include travelling experiences, conditions of im/mobility, transnational family networks, social boundaries and youth cultures. She is also interested in the relationships between scientific categories and legal labels, and in the methodologies of qualitative research. As a post-doc, she is conducting research on the home-migration nexus in Italy, UK and Sweden, under the ERC-HOMInG research project.


Guest Lecture in Forum for Transnational Migration Research

October 24, 15.00–17.00, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Marlou Schrover, Professor, Leiden University

What is the difference? Refugee migration today and in the past

Is the current refugee migration different from that in the past? Many people and organizations claim it is: numbers are believed to be larger, and the countries of origin, migrants and routes are different from earlier ones. Yet, there are also similarities. Emphasis on difference is used to press for support, or the need for new policies. This presentation focusses on refugee migrations in the past hundred years in Europe. Sudden increases in the numbers of refugees led to extensive debates also in earlier decades. NGOs criticized polities and influenced solutions. What is the use of comparing past refugee migrations with those in the past? Are we likely to learn lessons? Can we use our knowledge of the past to influence current policies?

Marlou Schrover is a full professor of migration history at Leiden University with more than 160 publications including 7 books and 5 edited volumes, mostly on migration. She holds the chair of Economic and Social History at Leiden University, and in this capacity leads a team of about 30 researchers. She has served on the PhD committee of 45 PhD candidates, and annually supervises 20 master students and 25 bachelor students in writing their thesis. Currently she is (co-)supervising 13 PhD students. Leiden University is internally recognized as a leader in the field of migration research. Schrover frequently speaks in front of non-academic audiences and appears in the press regularly. Schrover is founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Migration History. Her research focusses currently on the last 70 years and the intersection of class, gender, ethnicity and religion in migration and integration policies.



Guest Lecture in Forum for Transnational Migration Research

November 7, 13.00–15.00, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Tekalign Ayalew Mengiste, Assistant Professor, College of Social Sciences, Addis Ababa University and affiliated researcher, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Forced displacement and infrastructures of Eritrean refugee mobility to Europe

This presentation deals with structural conditions, social expectations and human smuggling organizations that shape Eritrean refugee flights and risky transitions en route. In the face of volatile politics, precarious economic conditions and limited opportunities for legal migration paths, a vast majority of Eritrean young men and women opt for overland exits through dangerous and long trails across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea before they arrive in Europe. This risky migratory mobility has become morally accepted and an institutionalized practice in Eritrea and is emerging in young peoples’ struggle when balancing risks related to staying and the hopes of better conditions coming with migration. The irregular departures and transitions of refugees are facilitated and conditioned by the engagement and interactions of the market (smuggling networks), the state and diasporic actors in multiple locations, which could be termed tentatively as infrastructures of refugee mobility. It is further shaped by EU externalization of migration policies and border controls as well the criminalization and securitization of migration. Refugees on move are vulnerable due to structural conditions and environmental challenges en route. However, the types and intensities of vulnerability vary according to age, gender and class. In this talk I will highlight how refugees and their communities navigate and negotiate risks and hopes related to forced displacement and migratory mobility by taking into account the social, economic, political and cultural underpinnings of refugee departures.

Dr. Tekalign Ayalew Mengiste obtained his PhD in Social Anthropology from Stockholm University, Sweden in 2017. Currently he is an Assistant Professor at the College of Social Sciences at Addis Ababa University and affiliated researcher at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University. His research interests include refugee mobility, diaspora, migration industry, transnationalism, human smuggling, youth, health & wellbeing. His PhD dissertation entitled “Struggle for Mobility: Risk, hope and community of knowledge in Eritrean and Ethiopian migration pathways towards Sweden” has won Högskoleföreningen’s prize award for outstanding scientific achievement in dissertation work.


Guest Lecture in Forum for Transnational Migration Research

November 21, 13.00–15.00, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Ruben Andersson, Associate Professor,
Department of International Development, University of Oxford

Tactical interfaces: clandestine mobility and border control through a transversal lens

This presentation will consider how the travelling tactics of migrants and refugees interact with the deterrence and security prerogatives of the border control industry, with a specific focus on recent developments in the latter field. Irregular migrant routes have always interacted at close quarters with border security operations - as seen, for instance, when a new fence, radar system or patrolling initiative push travellers towards more dangerous pathways. However, with the hardening, even 'post-humanitarian' stance of border security in both Europe and the United States, we now see, on the one hand, more abstract risk modelling built into deterrence; and on the other, a greater reliance on outsourced operators, ranging from Libyan militias to Nigerien security forces. These developments - while building on practices honed over the past two decades - may be said to ‘economise’ migratory life itself in increasingly brutal ways, for instance by using immiseration, death and indefinite containment as political or financial resources. In the paper, I inquire into migrants and refugees' own analysis of this situation while offering notes on how interfaces of border control are entrenching around the policing of vitality and mobility.

Ruben Andersson is an associate professor at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford, and an associated researcher at Stockholm University's Department of Social Anthropology. He obtained his PhD in anthropology from the London School of Economics in 2013 for the thesis Clandestine migration and the business of bordering Europe. The PhD, and his book Illegality, Inc., investigated irregular migration from West Africa towards southern Europe, in particular Spain, and was based on mobile research across the Spanish section of the Euro-African borderlands, from Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to the frontiers and capital cities of Senegal and Mali. The aim was to explore the interfaces where the diverse 'industry' working on this form of migration meets and interacts with its target – the clandestine migrant. Ruben's recent research has been concerned with risk and danger in international intervention, focusing on the conflict in Mali, West Africa and similar crisis settings: this research will be published as the book No Go World in 2019.



CEIFO seminar

December 3, 13.00–14.30, B600
Michaela Benson, Reader, Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London

From relative privilege to relative precarity: tracing Brexit’s differential impacts on Britons living in the EU-27

Brexit – a predominantly legal process – changes the terms by which the estimated 900,000* British citizens living in the EU-27 live their lives, and the structures that have, until now supported their migration and settlement. This paper argues that Brexit makes visible the hetereogeneity of this British population and in particular, how the structural privileges that they hold as British citizens are reframed through this moment of contemporary social, economic and political transformation. As I argue, Brexit brings to light the relative precarity of some overseas British citizens as the differential impacts of their shifting legal status are felt. In bringing together relative privilege and relative precarity, and identifying how these variously scale in respect to one another, this paper turns back on the question of who are the British who live in the EU-27 and what might Brexit variously mean for their lives?

*While these are the official estimated provided by the Office for National Statistics, and as Karen O’Reilly (2018) has argued, the numbers of British citizens living and/or working in the EU-27 are likely much higher than this.

Dr. Michaela Benson received a PhD in sociology and social anthropology from the University of Hull. Her thesis was the first ethnographic study of UK citizens living in rural France, and focused on migration, identity, and belonging. Michaela joined Goldsmiths in 2013 after working at the universities of York and Bristol. She is internationally renowned for her contributions to the sociology of migration, and her research on the class, home, identity and belonging. Michaela is currently a research leader for the project BrExpats: freedom of movement, citizenship and Brexit in the lives of Britons resident in the European Union funded by the UK in a Changing EU. This project examines the implications of Brexit for Britons resident in other European Union member states and their lived experiences as it unfolds.


Guest Lecture in Forum for Transnational Migration Research and film screening

December 5, 15.00–18.00, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus
Deirdre McKay, Reader, Keele University

Where mobile migrants meet subversive citizens: mapping the informal economy of care among Filipinos in in London

This paper unpacks the spatial strategies Filipino migrants arriving in London deployed to find work in the informal economy between 2009 and 2016. Building on my 2017 study, An Archipelago of Care (Indiana), it examines how migrants’ networks and mobility within the city intersected with their engagements with UK institutions including the Border Agency, the National Health Service, and churches. It then links these institutional encounters to more individual ties, exploring how and where non-citizen migrants built connections with the host nationals who I call ‘subversive citizens.’ It’s these individual ties which hold open the social space for informal work performed by non-citizens, creating a flourishing market for irregular carework. As migrants’ access to routes towards formal citizenship become limited, new spaces of exclusion and inclusion arise across the city.  This empirical account raises two questions for which I can offer answers-in-progress: What kinds of obligations and demands does this new stratification place on formal citizens and which demands do which groups recognise and why? And what does this increasingly complex spatial differentiation mean for our study actually-lived citizenship?

Deirdre McKay is Reader in Social Geography and Environmental Politics at Keele University. Her research draws on both social/cultural geography and social anthropology to explore people's place-based experiences of globalisation and development. The author of Global Filipinos (2012) and An Archipelago of Care (2016), much of her work has been conducted with people who originate in indigenous villages in the northern Philippines. Empirically, Deirdre is interested in the long-distance relations that connect outmigrants to their sending communities, changes in local livelihoods and the possibilities for locally sustainable, alternative economic development linked to migration as well as the kinds of social networks and relationships migrants build. To explore these themes, she deploys community arts methodologies and cultural economic approaches to understanding development.

To be followed by a film screening and discussion of ”Together Apart” (16.30–18.00)

Organised together with Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University.