Susan Banki: A Theory of Refugee Homeland Activism: Precarity, Social Movements & Resource Deprivation

Refugees dissatisfied with the conditions in their home countries often continue to agitate for change when they arrive in countries of neighbouring refuge, such as refugees from Myanmar living in Burma, or refugees from Bhutan living in Nepal. How might we come to understand the shapes and modes of such activism?

Concepts in the literatures of precarity, social movements, and migration offer us some answers. This talk considers the question of refugee homeland activism from a theoretical perspective but draws on empirical examples from the two aforementioned populations to flesh out these ideas.

Discussants at this event will be Susanne Bygnes (UiB) and Christine Jacobsen (UiB).

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Susanne Bygnes is a postdoctoral fellow at the
Department of sociology and heads the interdiciplinary research unit IMER Bergen (International Migration and Ethnic Relations). Her main research interests include international migration to and within Europe, majority-minority relations, social movements and protest.


Christine M. Jacobsen is Professor of Social Anthropology and Director of the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Bergen. Jacobsen specializes in the areas of migration, religion and gender. Her publications include the monograph Islamic Traditions and Muslim Youth in Norway (Brill, 2011) as well as articles and book chapters within a range of topics such as feminism and multiculturalism, identity
politics and political involvement among youth of immigrant origin, migration and sex work, and religion and secularism. Jacobsen works ethnographically in Norway and Southern France. Her latest book is Eksepsjonell velferd? Irregulære migranter i det norske velferdssamfunnet (Exceptional Welfare: Irregular migrants in the Norwegian welfare state, Gyldendal 2015, co-edited with Bendixsen and Søvig).