Research Highlights

I. NWO Project ‘Challenging masculinities: The institution of marriage for young Senegalese migrant men under conditions of involuntary return to Senegal’ granted in ‘PhD in the Humanities’.
Supervisors: Valentina Mazzucato and Ulrike Brunotte. PhD project by Karlien Strijbosch

This project investigates the performance and narration of masculinities of involuntary returned Senegalese men. In Senegal, masculine forms of honour depend on the ability to pay bride-wealth, marry and provide for one’s extended family. Yet marriage, and thus becoming an ‘adult man’, is increasingly unachievable due to the lack of economic opportunities. Migration can increase the social standing of men and be a solution to this ‘crisis of masculinity’. Yet European migration governance focuses on returning unwanted migrants to their country of origin, with Senegalese men representing a large number of those returned. Little is known about the socio-cultural consequences of such returns. How do young Senegalese men navigate, perform and narrate their masculinities in a context of involuntary return migration?

This research combines approaches that have heretofore been employed separately; using an intersectional approach, ethnography, the study of popular culture and biographical work to investigate the relationship between masculinities and migration. Masculinity is not only a performative practice but also narrated. In life-narratives and popular culture different forms of masculinities are negotiated. This research adds an empirical case to the conceptual debate within gender studies on agency, investigating this in a setting where masculinities have been little analysed. This project questions the often calculative understanding of migration by focusing on the (im)possibilities of socio-cultural transformations. By doing so, it contributes to the study of changing gender relations and migration. This understanding can lead to a better reintegration of migrants and highlight possible unintended consequences of European migration policies.

Karlien Strijbosch

II. Elsje Fourie and Wiebe Nauta co-organised a conference on ‘Researching South-South Development Cooperation’ at Cambridge University

The ‘rise of the South’ over the last 10 to 15 years has led to tectonic shifts in global development ideas, practices and actors. Providers of development assistance increasingly hail from countries such as Brazil, China, India, South Korea and Mexico, upending many of the assumptions that have governed the study of development for decades. While research is accelerating around many aspects of this rapidly growing and complex phenomenon, there has been limited space for reflection on the epistemological and methodological challenges posed by research in and with these Southern partners.
To remedy this, Elsje Fourie and Wiebe Nauta—together with Cambridge University’s Emma Mawdsley—organised an international conference to reflect critically on the changing politics of knowledge and knowledge production of South-South development cooperation. The conference took place on 3 and 4 April at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) in Cambridge.

The conference was multi-disciplinary in character, with researchers invited from Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Development Studies, Feminist Studies, International Relations, Media Studies and Political Studies. Care was taken to involve early career scholars, leading researchers, and practitioners. Many participants came from or were based in the global South. Participants were encouraged to critically interrogate their own positionality vis a vis the subject matter and this made for some refreshingly frank and intimate discussions.

The event was invaluable in strengthening the international profile of FASoS and in helping the organisers to build an international network of likeminded scholars. Most tangibly, the conference resulted in an edited volume which will be published by Routledge in 2019.

III. Maarten Vink co-editor of Oxford Handbook of Citizenship

MiLifeStatus project leader Maarten Vink is one of the co-editors of the Oxford Handbook of Citizenship, together with Ayelet Shachar, Rainer Bauboeck, and Irene Bloemraad. The book was published in 2017 by Oxford University Press.

The book brings together leading experts in law, philosophy, political science, economics, sociology, and geography to provide a multidisciplinary, comparative discussion of different dimensions of citizenship. It is the major reference work for those engaged with citizenship from a legal, political, and cultural perspective.