Online Workshop

Comparative Forced Migration and Refugee Studies – reflexive, postcolonial, international

For long, forced migration and refugee studies strongly rested on case studies whereas comparative research was absent (Harrell-Bond 1998, Chatty 2007). Meanwhile, an increasing number of studies began shifting this trend (e.g. MMC 2018, Wacker 2019). But the diversity of designs, contexts and data continues to complicate direct comparison and case studies remain prevalent. Only in refugee

policy and refugee integration studies are comparative approaches more common. Further to this, case studies are often either conducted in the Global North or from a Global North perspective; the Global South and Global East are less well researched, though we see more and more studies on and in these regions; in particular, postcolonial approaches inspire this.

Indeed, temporally and regionally comparative perspectives on similar or different conditions, practices of forced migration, or cohorts or types of refugees as well as features such as commonalities and differences in agency, resilience, vulnerability, transnationalism, family

situations, and so on are an important method (e.g. Kleist 2018). This facilitates recognising trajectories and patterns as well as interdependencies but also notorious blind spots or hegemonic practices of knowledge production and subsequently the identification of new research questions.

This workshop shall be devoted mainly to forced migration and displacement processes and the underlying causes/drivers/motivations, infrastructures, experiences, particularities, geography etc. but less so to policy. It aims to promote and strengthen the recent shifts towards a comparative approach as well as generally a reflexive approach in the field. To this end, it wishes to obtain a better overview over the state-of-the-art of comparative forced migration studies. This shall also facilitate sketching some key parameters of comparative forced migration and refugee studies. Another objective is to link comparative migration studies to refugee studies. Equally important is it to increase the visibility or even enhance perspectives of the Global South and East.

The debate is hosted by the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies at Osnabrück University (IMIS) and part of the FFVT-Workshop Series. It will be held online via Zoom Meetings.

For registration, please send an email to ... including name, affiliation and email address by 22 September.

Online via Zoom-Meeting
Date: Tue. 28/9 and Wed. 29/9/2021
All times: CEST

  • English
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
15:00 - 15:15
Welcome: Franck Düvell (FFVT, IMIS)

15:15 - 17:30
Panel 1: Conceptional, Theoretical, and Methodological Advances
  • Nergis Canefe (York University, CA): Decolonizing Forced Migration Studies: Breaking free of the 'Area Studies' Mold

  • Jorge Morales Cardiel (Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, MX): Differential Experiences of Forced displacement among Garifuna and Honduran mestizo ethnic groups migrating through Mexico to the United States

16:10 Break (10 min)

  • Aline Lima and Vera Hazan† (PUC-Rio, BR): Programmed Precariousness and the Challenges of Humanitarian Architecture

  • Eva Bahl & Arne Worm (Göttingen University, DE): Situating Violence in Migration Processes: The Explanatory Power of Biographical Case Studies


  • Aline Lima and Vera Hazan† (PUC-Rio, BR): Programmed Precariousness and the Challenges of Humanitarian Architecture
    Eva Bahl & Arne Worm (Göttingen University, DE): Situating Violence in Migration Processes: The Explanatory Power of Biographical Case Studies

  • Chair: Marcel Berlinghoff (FFVT-IMIS)

17:30 Keynote:

  • Dawn Chatty (RSC Oxford, UK): Case Studies or Comparative Research? A Plea for Greater Engagement with Comparisons

  • Chair: Franck Düvell (FFVT, IMIS)

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
09:00 - 09:15
Welcome: Franck Düvell (FFVT, IMIS)
09:15 - 14:00
Panel 2: Comparing Well-Being, Refugee Economics and Exploitation
  • Deena Dajani (IIED, UK), Michael Owiso (Maseno University, KE), Jawid Hassanzai (Samuel Hall, AF): Trans-local Displacement, Transnational Research: Conducting Comparative Research on Refugee Wellbeing

  • Olivier Sterck (RSC Oxford, UK): Explaining Variation in the Economic Behaviour and Economic Outcomes for Refugees

  • Ann Zuntz (University of Edinburgh, UK): Refugees in Global Capitalism

  • Chair: Lorenz Wiese (FFVT, CHREN)

10:45 - 11:00
11:00 - 12:30
Panel 3: Diverse Parameters of Comparative Forced Migration Research or Internal and International Displacement: Comparing Drivers, Geographies and Groups
  • Ludger Pries, Berna Safak Zülfikar Savci (Ruhr Universität Bochum, DE): Do
    Mexico and Turkey have the Same Meaning for Forced Migrants in Terms of Transit

  • Ahmet Icduygu (Koç University Istanbul,TR): Syrians and Afghans in Turkey

  • Lidia Kuzemska (Lancaster University, UK): IDPs in Ukraine and other Post-
    Soviet countries

Chair: Maarit Thiem (FFVT, BICC)

12:30 - 12:45
12:45 - 14:00
Round Table: Identifying the Obstacles to Comparative Forced Migration Research and How to Address the Current Shortcoming

Moderation: Marcel Berlinghoff, Franck Düvell (FFVT, IMIS)