MMB Insights and Sounds

MMB Insights and Sounds 2021 was a series of videos recorded on Zoom in which Professor Bridget Anderson, MMB Director, interviewed colleagues around the world on key issues relating to migration and mobility. We will be launching a new series in May 2022 in which different MMB members interview colleagues around the world working on areas related to their own research.


Special series: De-exceptionalising Displacement

The next seven interviews in MMB’s Insights and Sounds have been produced in collaboration with the Global Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh. The series introduces viewers to a series of articles on ‘De-exceptionalising Displacement: Rethinking Citizenship and Mobility’, the subject of an upcoming Special Issue of the journal Humanity edited by Heath Cabot, University of Pittsburgh, and Georgina Ramsay, University of Delaware. The Special Issue builds on efforts within both scholarship and political engagement that seek to ‘demigrantize’ migration (Dahinden 2016; Drotbohm and Lenz 2018) and ‘migrantize’ citizens (Anderson 2016, 2017). It asks: What does de-exceptionalizing displacement allow us to see and do? What are the limits of such an approach? In what ways are the forms of displacement and dispossession experienced by less mobile people or those constrained in place similar to or different from populations who move across national borders? What forms of precarity are peculiar to the contemporary neoliberal moment, and what does it demand from scholarship and political engagement alike?

How can displacement connect homeless and refugee people?

Dr Georgina Ramsay is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Delaware. In this interview she talks to Bridget Anderson about the meaning of displacement in multiple contexts, and her comparative work with homeless people in the US and people designated as refugees in Uganda.

Georgina’s research focuses on refugees and forced migration, citizenship and sovereignty, gender and motherhood, violence and humanitarianism, particularly in Central Africa and the African diaspora. Her latest book is Impossible Refuge: The Control and Constraint of Refugee Futures (Routledge, 2017).

What has citizenship to do with migration?

Professor Bridget Anderson is Director of MMB and Professor of Migration, Mobilities and Citizenship at the University of Bristol. Here she talks to Heath Cabot, co-editor of the special issue on ‘De-exceptionalising Displacement’ in Humanity, about her idea of methodological denationalism and the need to re-exceptionalise citizenship. These concepts interrogate assumptions about the nation state and how it turns people on the move into migrants.

Bridget’s research focuses on the relation between migration, race and nation, historically and in the contemporary world, and how the differences between the ‘migrant’ and the ‘citizen’ are constructed in law and in social and political practice. She is the author of Us and Them? The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Controls (Oxford University Press, 2013).

How do future imaginaries shape present lives?

Professor Heike Drotbohm is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. Here she talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about her article on aspirational anxieties and the politics of displacement in São Paulo and her interest in the notion of care as providing different constellations of support for mobile populations in the city.

Heike’s research focuses on international and transnational migration, in particular, kinship and care relations, transnational law and citizenship, immobility and deportation. She has carried out ethnographic work in creole transatlantic societies, Canada and the United States.

What do illegalized migrants think of deservingness?

Professor Susan Bibler Coutin is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, and Anthropology in the School of Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine. Here she talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about notions of deservingness forged by illegalized residents as their way of making sense of their extremely challenging situation – a process she refers to as ‘shape-shifting’.

Susan’s research focuses on social, political and legal activism surrounding immigration issues, particularly immigration from El Salvador to the United States. Her most recent book, Exiled Home: Salvadoran Transnational Youth in the Aftermath of Violence (Duke University Press, 2016) examines the experience of individuals born in El Salvador but raised in the United States.

What does settler colonialism have to do with refugee resettlement?

Dr Michelle Munyikwa received her joint MD/PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021. Here she talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about Pennsylvania’s history of settler colonialism and its connections with refugee settlement in the state, and the parallels between migrant populations and black populations in the US.

As a political and medical anthropologist Michelle is interested in the relationship between political economy, history and practices of care. Her PhD thesis, ‘Up from the Dirt: Racializing Refuge, Rupture and Repair in Philadelphia’, explored the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers and the institutions designed to care for them. She is currently a Resident Physician in internal medicine and paediatrics at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania.

Can citizens be displaced?

Professor Nicole Constable is Chair of Anthropology and Research Professor in the University Center for International Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Here she talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about her paper in the special series, which focuses on passport precarity among Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong, and her critique of the migrant-citizen binary.

Nicole is a sociocultural anthropologist whose primary research focus is gendered migration in and from Asia, intimate labour and precarious citizenship and the state. Her latest book, Born Out of Place: Migrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor (University of California Press, 2014) focuses on women migrant workers in Hong Kong who become mothers. She is currently finishing a book about Indonesian migration and passport entanglements.

What do we learn when we ‘de-exceptionalise displacement’?

Dr Heath Cabot, Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr Georgina Ramsay, Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Delaware, are co-editors of the forthcoming Special Issue of Humanity on ‘De-exceptionalising Displacement’. Here they talk to Professor Bridget Anderson about what gave them the idea for the issue.

Heath is a political and legal anthropologist researching citizenship, ethics and rights in Europe, with a focus on Greece. Her book, On the Doorstep of Europe: Asylum and Citizenship in Greece (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) analyses political asylum on the EU’s most porous external border. Georgina’s research focuses on refugees and forced migration, citizenship and sovereignty, gender and motherhood, violence and humanitarianism, particularly in Central Africa and the African diaspora. Her latest book is Impossible Refuge: The Control and Constraint of Refugee Futures (Routledge, 2017).

What can we learn from migrant domestic workers?

Waling Waling is a London-based organisation set up in the early 1980s to support migrant domestic workers in their search for justice, fair wages and decent working and living conditions. It reconvened in 2017 to campaign with Unite the Union and other organisations to restore the rights lost to migrant domestic workers in 2012. It also actively campaigns for the UK government to sign, ratify and implement the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

Here five members of the organisation talk to Professor Bridget Anderson about their struggle for justice since the 1980s and in the more recent period of the hostile environment, and about their experiences as migrant workers in the UK.

What does Blackness have to do with deportation?

Dr Luke de Noronha is a Lecturer in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies at the Sarah Parker Remond Centre, University College London. Here he talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about the connections between race, racism and immigration by looking at how Jamaican migration to the UK is connected to British imperial history.

Luke’s work is concerned with the relationship between racism and the government of mobility. His book Deporting Black Britons: Portraits of Deportation to Jamaica (Manchester University Press, 2020) examines the legal production of ‘illegality’ and processes of racialisation by focusing on the UK’s deportation practices. It tells the life stories of four men who grew up in the UK, were banished to Jamaica following criminal conviction, and now struggle to survive and rebuild in the Caribbean.

What can we learn about integration from policy and practice?

David Barclay, from the Good Faith Partnership, talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about the concept and use of the term integration from a policy perspective, and who is involved in conversations about integration and inclusion in Bristol.

As a partner at the Good Faith Partnership, UK, David works to help leaders in the worlds of faith, politics, business and charity work better together on common issues. He is currently working with the Mayor of Bristol as Advisor on Inclusion to help make the city more inclusive and integrated.

How can critical research engage with policy?

Ann Singleton, Reader in Migration Policy at the University of Bristol and MMB Policy Strategic Lead, talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about working at the interface of policy and research to try and understand the production of knowledge on migration.

Ann’s work focuses on the use of international migration data in the development of policy – interrogating the gaps in policy and what is hidden behind the official figures. She has published, spoken and consulted widely in the areas of asylum and international migration policy and statistics in the UK, European Union, ECOWAS and at a global level. She is Senior Adviser to the International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (IOM GMDAC).

What is ‘transnational marriage’ and why does it matter?

Professor Katharine Charsley, Professor of Migration Studies at the University of Bristol, talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about the long history of cross-border marriage and the complex linguistic and legal categorisations of the practice today.

Katharine’s research focuses on gender, the family and migration, particularly the field of cross-border marriages. Her latest book, Marriage Migration and Integration was published by Palgrave in 2020. Her recent research project on making prose-poetry with people separated from their families led to the e-book, Kept Apart: Couples of Families Separated by the UK Immigration System (2020).

What is ‘integration’?

Dr Natalie Hyacinth, Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol, talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about the concept of integration and how it can be used from a bottom-up, everyday perspective rather than as a top-down policy.

Natalie Hyacinth is in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies and researcher on the Everyday Integration project. This project is partnered with more than 30 different organisations across Bristol to study the local contexts, practices and mobilities of integration. Prior to this post, Natalie wrote her PhD about music and spirituality in suburban faith communities.

Does where you claim refugee status matter?

Professor Cathryn Costello, Professor of Fundamental Rights at the Hertie School, Berlin, and Professor of Refugee and Migration Law at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford (on special leave) talks to Professor Bridget Anderson about the differences in the global refugee regime across the world.

Cathryn Costello is an expert in European and international refugee and migration law, and has written about EU asylum and migration law, international refugee law and the relationship between migration and labour law. She is currently the Principal Investigator of RefMig, a five-year ERC-funded research project exploring refugee mobility, recognition and rights.

Invasive Others: Plants? People? Pathogens?

Professor Miriam Ticktin from The New School for Social Research, New York, in conversation with Professor Bridget Anderson about how the fear of pathogens and viruses and the fear of foreigners and migrants are often superimposed on each other.

Miriam Ticktin is Associate Professor of Anthropology and has written on immigration, humanitarianism and border walls in France and the US, and how bodies and biologies are shaped by gender and race. She is the author of Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France (University of California Press, 2011) and is currently working on two new books: one on innocence as a political concept and how it produces an unending search for purity; and the other on the way border wall technologies travel, both transnationally and cross-species, with the goal of engaging with speculative practices, and reimagining the idea of bordering.

How does refugee migration impact on Somali family life?

Dr Natasha Carver, from the University of Bristol, in conversation with Professor Bridget Anderson about her new book Marriage, Gender and Refugee Migration: Spousal Relationships among Somali Muslims in the United Kingdom (2021).

Natasha Carver is a Lecturer in International Criminology in the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol. Her research looks at the legal constructions of racialised and gendered identities and how these identities are negotiated by those who are subject(ed) to their force. Her current investigation explores multi-handed prosecutions of child sexual exploitation and focuses on the experiences of migrant defendants and their family members.

What do immigration controls have to do with Empire?

Professor Nandita Sharma, from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, in conversation with Professor Bridget Anderson about the origins of the contemporary system of global immigration controls and her idea of a post-colonial new world order.

Nandita is an activist scholar whose research is shaped by the social movements she is active in, including No Borders movements and those struggling for the planetary commons. She has written about national sovereignty and postcolonial racism in the MMB blog, where she has also reflected on the experience of COVID-19 in the US in her post, ‘From “social distancing” to planetary solidarity’.

Nandita was invited to be a Benjamin Meaker Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Bristol in 2020 but postponed the position due to the COVID-19 pandemic.