Welcome to the 7th Masters conference on Migration studies

This annual conference is arranged in joint collaboration between Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM), Malmö University and Centre for Advanced Migration Studies (AMIS), University of Copenhagen.

This year the conference focuses on current PhD-projects in Migration studies in the Øresund region. The aim of the conference is to provide an opportunity for master’s students to learn about recently finished and ongoing PhD-projects and for students at different levels to interact.

The conference is open to all, but you need to register.

Register here


13:00-13:15 Welcome by Pieter Bevelander, director of MIM, and Marie Sandberg, director of AMIS

13:15-14:00 Keynote: Marlene Paulin Kristensen, PhD in Ethnology

Border Enforcement in the EU and methodological strategies for critical research

The dissertation Relocating Europe: Border Officials and their Everyday Attempts to Stabilise Borders (2019) studies border enforcement in the European Union, and is based on field research conducted amongst border enforcement officials in the Danish Police and in the European Union’s Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine. The dissertation shows how border enforcement officials in their daily work interpret, perform and transform Europe’s borders. The dissertation underlines the contradictory, yet coexisting aspirations that go into the enforcement of the borders of Europe and suggests that future research nurture the skill of analytically capturing contradictions and differences in the European project. In this talk, I will therefore discuss three methodological concerns that guided me in the design of my research: the politics of location; the politics of the research object, and the politics of knowledge production.

Discussants: Johan Ekstedt and Eline Wærp, Phd students in IMER, Malmö University

Short break 

14:15-15:00 Keynote: Jacob Lind, Researcher at MIM, Malmö University

The politics of undocumented migrant childhoods. Agency, rights, vulnerability

In his thesis, Jacob Lind investigates the paradoxical politics of undocumented migrant childhoods, through an analysis that contrasts the arguments and practices of state actors with the experiences of undocumented migrant children and families in Sweden and the UK. Through this analysis, the political character of agency, rights and vulnerability emerges, and the limitations and opportunities for change are revealed.

Discussant: Katrine Syppli Kohl, Postdoc, AMIS, University of Copenhagen

Short break

15:15-16:00 Parallel workshops

Workshop 1: Mirjam Wajsberg and Cecilie Odgaard Jakobsen, PhD students AMIS, joint workshop: Navigating the EUropean migration regime: Experiences of im/mobility between Denmark, Bosnia, Greece and Germany

Based on Cecilie’s and Mirjam’s ethnographic fieldwork carried out in a Danish asylum camp, a Bosnian village and among migrants living in Germany and Greece, we will discuss what im/mobility means in different spatial, temporal and legal contexts and explore how these im/mobilities are framed by interlocutors themselves.

Workshop 2: Johan Ekstedt
and Eline Wærp, PhD students in IMER, MIM, joint workshop: Migration Management at the EU’s external borders – PhD projects on agencies and actors of the European Asylum Regime.

Johan Ekstedt presents his PhD-project “Under the hood” of European asylum bureaucracy - frontline workers and the development of norms and values inside EASO and IOM. Frontline bureaucrats working with asylum at the EU’s external borders have been given an extraordinarily difficult task. With an immense workload, a complex legal system and constant political pressure for more restrictive implementation of asylum policies, they are asked to uphold the fundamental values of the EU and ensure equal and fair treatment of each individual asylum seeker. Limited resources, constant changes in law and the profoundly disturbing conditions in European refugee camps leads to high levels of stress and a gulf between the ideal model of implementation and actual practice. 

The core aim of this thesis is to investigate how norms and values are developed inside organizations working under these conditions. With a theoretical starting point in New Institutionalism and Street Level Bureaucracy Theory, I investigate these questions through semi-structured interviews and face-to-face surveys with personnel at the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Greece and Italy. 

In this seminar I will present the initial research findings from my interviews with EASO Case workers in Greece in late 2019 and early 2020.

Eline Wærp presents her PhD project that aims to map and critically interrogate the wider ‘field of EU border management’, the various discourses and practices shaping this field (including the elements of security, crisis and humanitarianism), how this field has evolved over the last 20 years, along with struggles between actors operating in this field (with a specific emphasis on Frontex). The analysis draws on interviews with EU officials and civil society actors in this field, along with critical discourse analysis of relevant documents. The aim is to provide a more comprehensive and nuanced picture of this rapidly changing-field, along with some insights into the underlying rationalities of the so-called EU border regime.

Workshop 3:
Hilda Gustafsson, PhD student in IMER, Malmö University

Hilda Gustafsson presents her mixed method PhD project Waiting for Family ReunificationIn her thesis she will use both quantitative data and interviews with families to better understand the mental health implications of waiting while geographically separated. In her workshop, she will provide a brief presentation of family reunification in Sweden. Thereafter the focus will be on the concept of Waiting in a migration setting and how it can be used to transgress established notions of migration trajectories, individualist perspectives and legal categories of people. She will also share some thoughts on the benefits of wide conceptual frameworks for intersectional perspectives, that may lead to more nuanced and complex depictions of migration experiences.

Short break

16:15–17.00 Panel discussion and closing remarks

Before the conference, Master’s students are asked to formulate some questions that are relevant considering the presenters’ expertise. These questions will create a foundation for the panel discussion.