inequality | borders & security | human rights & humanitarianism | (im)mobility
GRS works to foster and communicate a deeper understanding of what happens when the world is moved and people move within it. Whether conflict, land-grabbing or poverty are the critical moving factors, GRS’s multi-disciplinary research capacity offers outstanding analyses of the relationship between large-scale political and economic processes and the lived experiences of people on the ground and their dreams for a better future.
We explore the underlying dynamics of forced migration, the ways that refugees and marginalized maneuver, and the intersection between these groups and authorities’ attempt to curb, tap into, or manage these movements, be it by border control, humanitarian interventions or integration policies.
The vision is animated by the analysis that conflict, movement, the inability to move as well as forced displacement are intimately interconnected in an increasingly globalized world in which the majority live precarious and uncertain lives. GRS contributes with critical analyses, such as how the colonial encounter still shapes how we today relate to displacement and social hierarchies including, but not limited to, relations of race, gender, and class.
The aim of the Global Refugee Studies (GRS) research group is to create new theoretical, empirical and methodological knowledge about the main causes and consequences of, and possible solutions to the problems of refugees and other victims of forced displacement. The normative and ethical premise is that such people in flight are human beings with serious problems rather than human beings as problems.
The group is multidisciplinary and its membership ranges from Political Science, International Relations and Law to Anthropology – and it is open to researchers from other academic disciplines.
The main output is publication via “academic” channels such as articles in peer reviewed journals and monographs, but the project also organises seminars and similar events as well as contributing to the public debate in Denmark and elsewhere. It also serves as the research foundation of the study programme Global Refugee Studies.
What is – or should be – the role of religion in the asylum system? Among Danish politicians, asylum authorities, and in the general public, this is a question that has surfaced time and again, most often in relation to accusations of religiously motivated discrimination of Christian converts, ‘fake’ conversions, aggressive proselytization by outside religious groups, and radicalisation among Muslim asylum seekers. In all these cases, different as they are, religion is cast as something potentially suspicious and problematic; something to be controlled, managed and even eliminated. Religion is a source of conflict and violence, a tool for manipulation and self-gain. But the role(s) of religion, in the asylum system and for the asylum seekers, is much more complex and multifaceted than these debates have us believe.
The article deals with former and present European border control and externalization of displacement from a postcolonial perspective. It offers a postcolonial critique of the Western studies and politics on forced migration, which is followed by a discussion on EU externalization politics that identifies reoccurring logics and tensions with humanized control, which is then established as a postcolonial nexus point to the transatlantic slave trade. The article examines cases of racialized, suppressionist and externalized border controls from the nineteenth century Atlantic-Caribbean Basins and concludes that parallels exist between past and present regimes of captured, rescued and re-displaced people, and associated transfers of humanitarian blame and responsibility.