Migrants and refugees walk across the Serbian-Croatian border into the the village of Strosinci, near to the eastern Croatian town of Spacva, on September 26, 2015. Nearly 10,000 migrants entered Croatia September 25, a record daily influx since they started entering the country on their journey to seek a new life in western Europe, interior ministry said September 26. The overall number of the migrants who entered the European Union member from neighbouring Serbia during the past 10 days totalled 65,000, an interior ministry statement said. The influx started after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia earlier this month. AFP PHOTO / ELVIS BARUKCIC
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IMER Lunch Seminar series: Marta B. Erdal: Forced to leave? The discursive and analytical significance of describing migration as forced or voluntary

Photo: Strait Times

It is increasingly acknowledged that there is no clear dichotomy between ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ migration. Instead, migration dynamics and migrants’ lived experiences suggest a blurring of the boundary between forced and voluntary, with combinations of choice and constraint that vary among individuals and groups, but also over time. Despite calls to integrate analysis of displacement into understandings of social transformation, however, there is still a distinct divide between bodies of literature on conflict-related migration and migration studies more broadly.

Date and time: May 3.rd, from 1200-1330
Place: Department of Sociology, Rosenberggaten 39, ground floor
A light lunch will be served

Link to event

In her presentation, Erdal focuses on a classic migration trajectory (leaving – arrival and reception – settlement – return or onward migration) to critically examine what these two bodies of literature have to say about each of these key points in the migration journey. Using examples from her and her colleagues’ qualitative research on ‘displacement’ from Afghanistan, and ‘migration’ from Pakistan, she highlights specific areas where the differential labelling of an individual migrant as ‘forced’ or ‘voluntary’ has a distinct effect (e.g. arrival and reception) and where this effect may be less apparent or ‘blurred’ (e.g. leaving or onward migration). In doing so she demonstrates the value of a conversation between the two bodies of literature, incorporating insights about the nature of displacement – with its inherent links to conflict and insecurity – as part of a larger picture of migration as a social process.

ErdalMarta Bivand Erdal is a senior researcher at PRIO. Her research focuses on migrant transnationalism, including remittances and diaspora engagements; on processes of migrant integration, including citizenship practices in diverse contexts; and on return migration and sustained transnational mobilities.

About the Seminar series:

Migration responses

Debating the current refugee crisis in Europe

The IMER Bergen Seminar series for the spring of 2016 will discuss a wide range of responses in the wake of the current migration crisis. How can the theoretical and empirical research currently being conducted on migration, ethnic relations, peace and conflict contribute to understanding the multi-faceted landscape of politics, boundaries and everyday lives of the refugee crisis?


IMER Lunch Seminar series: Olav Elgvin (UiB): Gay is who gay does? Assimilation, homosexuality and the causal power of discourse


Welcome! A light lunch will be served.

Research on processes of assimilation among immigrants – by which I mean the gradual adjustment to the prevailing norms in the majority society – has shown that it is a complex and many-faceted process. Some groups assimilate faster than others, and immigrants may assimilate in some areas of life but not in others. There is no consensus among researchers as to why assimilation processes can have such different trajectories. In this paper I explore how discourses and ideas may shape how assimilation processes play out.

Drawing on field work among LGBT people in Norwegian immigrant communities, I claim that many people of immigrant background have assimilated a central idea in contemporary Norwegian discourse, that has been contested in other parts of the world: That homosexuality is an inherent disposition, something one «is» and not merely something one «does». But there is little acceptance of the idea that homosexuality can be morally acceptable. My claim in the paper is that this can be attributed to the causal power of discourse. The idea of homosexuality as «merely something one does» has seldom been fully articulated in traditional discourses, and may thus easily give way to other ideas. The idea that homosexuality is morally reprehensible, however, has been strongly articulated in traditional discourses, and may therefore be more resistant to the pressures of assimilation.

Olav Elgvin is a PhD candidate at the Department of comparative politics, doing a PhD on Muslim religious leaders in Europe. He is also associated with the Fafo institute in Oslo, where he works on issues more broadly related to immigrant incorporation.

Ggia, Wikimedia Commons
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License

Healthcare and migration – open seminar

Photo: Ggia, Wikimedia Commons. Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Public License

Europe is confronted by the biggest refugee crisis since WW2. In the series “The great societal challenges”, University of Bergen and Bergens Tidende explore the implications of this for the Norwegian healthcare system.  

Where: University Aula
When: Saturday March 5.th, from 1500-1700.

Vice rector Anne Lise Fimreite will open the event.

Professor of Law, Karl Harald Søvig, will have a keynote on health rights and health challenges for people without legal residence in Norway.

Editor Hilde Sandvik will lead the following panel discussion:

Marry-Anne Karlsen (PhD)
Ingebjørn Bleidvin (Dr)
Kjersti Toppe (Parliamentarian)

For more information (in Norwegian):



A man stands shocked in the remains of a...A man stands shocked in the remains of a house following an airstrike by the Syrian airforce in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on April 15, 2013. The conflict in Syria, which is now in its third year, has cost 70,000 lives, according to the United Nations.    AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFFDIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images

IMER / CMI lunch seminar on Syria: Kjetil Selvik: conflict dynamics and humanitarian consequences

Photo illustration: poetroom.com

Time: Tuesday March 1. @1200-1330
Venue: Bergen Resource Center for International development, Jekteviksbakken 31 (ground floor)

A light lunch will be served.

What are the driving forces behind the Syrian war? Why does the conflict seem so difficult to resolve? How are the citizens of Syria impacted by the atrocities? Will the recent established seasefire last? 

Kjetil Selvik is senior researcher at the Chr. Michelsen Institute. He specializes in comparative politics and have done his empirical investigations in the Middle East. Selvik studied Arabic in Damascus in the mid-1990s and has followed Syria’s political development ever since. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo.


IMER lunch seminar series Migration responses – Torgeir Uberg Nærland (UiB): Recognition through reception

Illustration: Wallpapercave

February 23, 2016 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm
Sosiologisk institutt, ground floor
Rosenbergsgaten 39

Hip hop music and the forging of civic bonds among minority youth in Norway 

A vast body of research documents that media coverage of ethnic minorities in Norway is systematically imbalanced and problem oriented, which in turn engenders a sense of exclusion. At the same time, hip hop music and artists are today regular fixtures in various media formats, and a genre that comprises a number of prominent performers of multi-cultural background.

Set against the backdrop of the exclusionary effects of news media representations, this interview study of a group of minority youth makes evident that mass mediated hip hop music is for them taken to entail public representation of minority experiences and sensibilities that engender a sense of democratic inclusion.

By combining recognition theory and reception theory, Nærland shows how hip hop-related media coverage is experienced to involve a positive affirmation of minority identity that also contributes to the formation of civic identity and affinities. The study argues that musical media events constitute ‘moments of recognition’ where dynamics of recognition is intensified.

Torgeir NærlandNærland further argues that recognition theory makes up a valuable supplementary framework for our theoretical understanding of the civic dimensions of media reception, and the role of popular music therein.

Torgeir Uberg Nærland is a researcher at Uni Rokkan Centre. His research topic is popular music; Music and democracy; documentary film and copyright; Public Sphere Theory


Welcome! A light lunch will be served.

About the Seminar series:

Migration responses

Debating the current refugee crisis in Europe

The IMER Bergen Seminar series for the spring of 2016 will discuss a wide range of responses in the wake of the current migration crisis. How can the theoretical and empirical research currently being conducted on migration, ethnic relations, peace and conflict contribute to understanding the multi-faceted landscape of politics, boundaries and everyday lives of the refugee crisis?

Listhaug klartale.no

Åpent møte: Lista til Listhaug

Bilde: klartale.no

Lista til Listhaug- hva betyr den egentlig?

Som svar på økninga i asylankomster presenterte innvandrings- og integreringsminister Sylvi Listhaug (FrP) i romjula en liste med forslag som skal bidra til å stramme inn asylpolitikken i Norge. IMER Bergen og CMI inviterer til debattmøte om innstramningsforslagenes praktiske konsekvenser.

Hvis lista over forslag blir gjennomført vil den gjøre Norge til et av de strengeste landene i Europa når det gjelder asyl. Forslagene inkluder innstramning i reglene om familiegjenforening, økt bruk av midlertidig opphold, krav til selvforsørgelse og krav å bestå prøver i norsk og samfunnsfag for å få permanent opphold.

For mange kan forslagene til tiltak virke abstrakte. Hva betyr egentlig innstramningsforslagene i praksis?

IMER Bergen og Christian Michelsens Institutt inviterer til et åpent arrangement der fire eksperter gir innsikt i innstramningsforslagenes praktiske konsekvenser. Du kan melde din interesse eller spre ordet på vårt facebook-event.

Terje Einarsen (UiB): Professor i jus, ekspert på asylrett
Helga Eggebø (KUN): Doktorgrad på tema familiegjenforening
Anita Rathore (OMOD): Nestleder i Organisasjonen Mot Offentlig Diskriminering
Cecilie Hamnes Carlsen (VOX): Ekspert på norsk- og samfunnsfagstester

Marry-Anne Karlsen (IMER Bergen) leder møtet

Tid og sted: Litteraturhuset i Bergen, Østre skostredet 5, 16. februar klokka 19:30

Seminaret er åpent for alle og gratis



IMER lunch seminar: Queering mobility: transgendered internal migrants and their experience of “transition” in South Africa

By  Nadzeya Husakouskaya (SKOK, UiB):


Migration studies in post-Apartheid South Africa have maintained a strong focus on cross-border mobility while often narrowing health-related research to HIV/AIDS concerns and framing gender in woman-oriented approach with a gradually emerging area of research on migrant sex workers. This paper offers to bridge certain gaps in migration research on health, internal mobility and gender. It revolves around experiences of black unprivileged transgender internal migrants accessing medical services in the public health sector in urban Gauteng, in particular, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The paper explores their experiences of migration focusing on analysis of their transition ­ both gendered transition (different medical interventions that alter/modify gender-related attributes of the body) and spatial transition (diverse mobility patters, relocation, renegotiation of place of living and belonging) ­ and ways they negotiate belonging.


Nadzeya Husakouskaya is a PhD Candidate, Centre for Women’s and Gender Research (SKOK), University of Bergen, Norway. She holds a European master from 2013 in Migration and Intercultural relations (joint degree).


Welcome! A light lunch will be served.


EASA conference in Milan – Panel on “Raising Europe: Managing parents and the production of good citizens”

We are organizing a panel at the upcoming European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) conference in Milan, 20-23 July 2016. The panel ‘Raising Europe: Managing parents and the production of good citizens’ examines how European welfare states attempt to produce good citizens. We invite papers that use the realm of parenting to study how European states attempt to raise their citizens (see below for long abstract).

Paper proposals can be submitted through the EASA website, following this link:


The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2016.

Kind regards,

Synnøve Bendixsen (University of Bergen)
Charlotte Faircloth (University of Roehampton )
Anouk de Koning (Radboud University Nijmegen)

Long Abstract

European national publics are diversifying. Governments often see this diversity as creating challenges with respect to the fabric of national society, social cohesion, and the production of good future citizens. Simultaneously, in times of economic crisis and neoliberal reforms many governments redefine their role vis-à-vis citizens and society, stressing citizens’ ‘responsibility’, their ‘own strength’ and mutual aid. This panel examines how, against the background of these governmental concerns, European welfare states attempt to produce good citizens. It does so by using the realm of parenting as its vantage point, since this is the space where new citizens are most literally moulded, both in the intimate sphere of the family and in public institutions.

This panel invites papers that discuss how governmental agencies, such as schools and health care institutions, manage parents through a range of policies, institutional arrangements and professional practices, and how various parents respond to such attempts at governing. In what ways do various institutional actors attempt to govern and foster the production of future citizens? What are the parental responses to governmental interactions and interventions related to their parenting? What might be some of the unintended or corrosive consequences of these interventions at the level of intimate family relations, and society more widely? By comparing cases from across Europe, this panel will provide insights into European welfare states’ attempts to raise their citizens in the context of diversifying national publics and neoliberal reforms.


Emerging Urbanities – lunch seminar: Predatory security: Reshaping the city and the state in Mozambique

Photo: Ivar Fjeld

By Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, associate professor, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen

Time: December 15, 1200-1330

Place: UNI Rokkan centre, 6.th floor



Bjørn_enge_bertelsen_pressebilde_UiB_mars_2010Notions and practices of security colonise both state and urban contexts across Africa. Arguably, these notions and practices are also integral to wider global political formations where urban formations in Africa are often cast as pre-figuring the shape of future global cities more generally. Based on fieldworks in the Mozambican cities of Maputo and Chimoio, this paper sees security there as related to violent crime and capital accumulation in ways that undermine policy-oriented representations of security provision as solely undertaken by state police supplemented by neoliberal assemblages of security companies.

Rather, and more specifically, the paper shows how security is not only subjected to a spatialized logic of race and social control but also renders violence – in all its forms – central to its exercise and cosmologies. This point will be emphasised by analysing how various forms of policing must be understood beyond the security-development nexus. These forms of policing increasingly involve a gradual emergence of what I call ‘predatory security’ that is central to violent modes of capital accumulation that shape African urban landscapes as well as define the contours of the state. The paper suggests that as a configuration of accumulative violence such predatory security has consequences for how we should approach calls for rights to the city as well as the state in urban African orders and beyond.

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, associate professor, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, has researched issues such as state formation, violence, poverty and rural-urban connections in Mozambique since 1998. Bertelsen has published extensively internationally and is publishing the monograph Violent Becomings: State Formation, Culture and Power in Mozambique (Berghahn Books, 2016) and has co-edited the anthologies Crisis of the State: War and Social Upheaval (with Bruce Kapferer, Berghahn Books, [2009] 2012) and Navigating Colonial Orders: Norwegian Entrepreneurship in Africa and Oceania, ca. 1850 to 1950 (with Kirsten Alsaker Kjerland, Berghahn Books, 2015).