Join the work-in-progress seminar by the fifth cohort of Migration Politics residents.

You’re warmly invited to attend their work-in-progress sessions.

Lamis Abdelaaty “The Emissary Speaks: Political Agency in Refugee-UNHCR Correspondence”

Based on letters sent by refugees in Kenya to UNHCR headquarters in Geneva between 1983 and 1994, this paper examines how refugees advocate for themselves with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and what responses their communications engender. The findings underline the political agency of refugees and the politicization of their relationship with UNHCR (notwithstanding the latter’s claims to be apolitical). The analysis shows that refugees organize strategically, relying not just on national identity but on other bases for shared interests. Their appeals range from on-the-ground material assistance to macro-level reforms at the Security Council. To empower themselves in their unequal relationship with UNHCR, they adopt the international organization’s own refugee rights vocabulary and play off different organizations and layers of UNHCR against each other. Finally, UNHCR’s responses (or lack thereof) demonstrate the consequences of its insulation and bureaucratization

Bose Babatunde “Petro-politics, Gender Violence and Human Trafficking in Nigeria’s Niger Delta Region”

This article focuses on the intersection of petro-politics, gender violence and human trafficking in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region. It seeks to explain how the politics of oil by transnational oil corporation, national government and local actors perpetuate gender inequalities and injustices and influence women’s vulnerability to human trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labor in the extractive communities in the Niger Delta. It raises these pertinent questions; how do the politics of oil shape gender violence and human trafficking in the Niger Delta region? In what ways have oil politics by these powerful actors result in gender violence and exposed the local women to human trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labor? The Niger Delta provides a good case analysis of how the contentious nature of the politics of resource governance in extractive communities perpetuate gender violence and expose women’s to internal and cross-border human trafficking.

Alethia Fernández de la Reguera Ahedo “Emotional border management in Mexico: on how emotions trigger legal violence”

Staff working in immigration detention centers usually establish social and emotional barriers with incarcerated migrants, thus avoiding emotional and ethical conflicts. However, emotional management turns out to be an intrinsic part of their work. Without having elements for containment and self-care, it has severe consequences for safeguarding the human rights of people in mobility. Therefore, it is necessary to reflect on emotional management in the symbolic and real work by State agents safeguarding borders and national security. In this article I analyze emotions as central factors of bureaucrats’ decision-making in immigration policy. I study the emotions that emerge from the social interaction between immigrants and both, INM and National Guard agents, and frame the research in an institutional ethnography to analyze these emotions regarding the norms, discourse, and institutional practices of securitization and criminalization of immigrants. The objective is to demonstrate that emotions allow us to understand the complexity of power relations in the immigration bureaucracy and reflect on what emotions tell us to understand the discourses and institutional practices of immigration policy.

Sessions are planned for

  • Alethia Fernández, Monday May 22, 13h00 – 14h15 CEST  (at REC and online)
  • Lamis Abdelaaty, Monday May 22,  14h45 – 16h00 CEST   (at REC and online)
  • Bose Babatunde, Tuesday May 23,  9h30 – 10h45 CEST  (at REC and online)

Attendees will receive the draft papers are encouraged to read them in advance of the session.

Please sign up to attend in-person or virtually here:

Interested to see the published versions of paper from previous residencies?


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