ESR Project 6

Refugee Livelihood Security and Future Perspectives

 Supervisors Lotte Meinert (Aarhus University) and Paul Wenzel Geissler (University of Oslo)

With about 18 million people, over a quarter of the world’s refugees live in Africa. The human security situation of this growing population group has spawned an expansive and mutable transnational humanitarian sector intertwining state and non-state actors, professionals, administrators and activists. This given rise to novel techniques of governance and of care –refugee camp bureaucracies, medical techniques and tools, humanitarian devices, as well as specific modes of public representation and imagination.

This anthropological PhD will study the relationship between the human security situation experienced by refugees in and around a long-term refugee settlement in the great lakes region or horn of Africa, with a focus on livelihoods and future making, and their relation to infrastructures, technology and knowledge-production. Based on ethnographic fieldwork the research should describe the broad human security situation (e.g. livelihood challenges, health problems, environmental degradation and interpersonal violence) as experienced by e.g. young refugees in large-scale refugee settlements and surrounding areas. The PhD project will document refugees’ life stories with emphasis on temporality, memory and anticipation and analyze consequences of national and international policy initiatives and humanitarian technologies and imaginaries? In relation to refugee livelihoods, future perspectives and global security. The research will explore processes of identity formation - ethnic, religious and political - under the conditions of the refugee settlement, and their contribution to human security.

The project will be based on 12 months of ethnographic fieldwork and must include 3 months of secondment to an organization working with refugees such as the Northern Uganda Resilience Initiative 2018-2022 (NURI), where the PhD student should take part in on-going work and programs.