Online Workshop

Contested Categories - Issues at the Intersection of Development and Forced Migration Studies

Workshop objective and background  

The aggregation of information is a mundane procedure in research processes. Clustering, labelling and categorising are basic tools used by researchers to structure data and order information with the objective to systematically make sense of “the world out there”. This process is crucial for reaching higher abstraction levels and create broader meanings of the data generated. However, research categories always emerge in a specific context and time, and therefore, it is not surprising that they are often contested by diverging perspectives, revisited and replaced. Hence, categories seldom endure longer time periods.  

This workshop addresses the critique of categories and the debates about them in development research and considers their relevance and utility for forced migration studies (FMS). For this purpose, three critically discussed categories in recent years are used as examples: “global South and global North”, “new actors – self-empowerment and emancipation of marginalised groups”, and “digitalisation”. For better contextualisation, the workshop will be accompanied by a keynote lecture on categorisations in development and FMS.

  • English
Monday, October 4, 2021
13:45 - 14:00
Welcome and introduction
14:00 - 15:30
Panel 1 – Global South and North: between practicability and restrictions


Sebastian Haug (Researcher, DIE)
Tingirtu Gebretsadik Tekl (Assistant Professor, Jigjiga University)
Franzisca Zanker (Senior Researcher, University of Freiburg)

Moderation: Rose Jaji (Senior Researcher, DIE)

15:30 - 17:00
17:00 - 18:30
Keynote address: Social science vs myth, policy, and law: Moving beyond and within methodological nationalism, forced migration, and the global south

Speaker: Nathalie Williams (Associate Professor, University of Washington)

Moderation: Jörn Grävingholt (Senior Researcher, DIE)

Tuesday, October 5, 2021
10:45 - 11:00
Welcome and recap of day 1
11:00 - 12:30
Panel 2 – New actors in development research and FMRS: towards emancipation of old hierarchies?


Alexandre Apsan Frediani (Principal Researcher, International Institute for Environment and Development)
Kate Pincock (Researcher, Overseas Development Institute)
Zeynep Sahin-Mencütek (Senior Researcher, BICC)

Moderation: Merlin Flaig (DIE)

12:30 - 14:00
Lunch break
14:00 - 15:30
Panel 3 – Digitalisation: A new global context beyond compass points


Amanda Alencar (Associate Professor, Erasmus University Rotterdam)
Koen Leurs (Assistant Professor, University of Utrecht)
Petra Molnar (Lawyer and Researcher, Refugee Law Lab)

Moderation: Charles Martin-Shields (Senior Researcher, DIE)

15:30 - 15:45
Short wrap-up of the workshop and farewell

Participants should send RSVPs by 29 September 2021 to Mr Raja Mohsin Khalid (...).  

Questions related to workshop content should be directed to Mr Merlin Flaig (...).