Keynotes – ETMU 2018

Keynote One: Sexual and gender-based violence and refugees: vulnerability, resilience and resettlement

Professor Jenny Phillimore

In considering the state of knowledge around sexual violence and war Skjelsbaek notes the reluctance of researchers to “look into how this crime affects the victims” (2001:212). This paper responds to the question how does the experience of SGBV influence refugees’ mental and physical health and ability to integrate and achieve equality of social and economic outcomes in countries of refuge? Given the prevalence of SGBV across the refugee journey, experiences need to be conceptualised as an ongoing and multi-faceted experience of trauma, with both immediate and long-term consequences. This approach moves us beyond exclusive focus on SGBV in war zones, to consider the entire refugee journey (before, during and after exile). Thus, attention is paid to location(s), interaction with perpetrator(s), health professionals, immigration officials and others, and how they shape vulnerability, recovery and resettlement. Such an approach is pertinent given Wasco’s (2003) argument that the harm done by sexual assault cannot be understood as a single trauma. The paper uses data from a review of existing literature and a preliminary analysis of interviews with organisations working with refugee survivors to explore the resilience and vulnerability of refugees and how these impact upon their survival and resettlement in countries of refuge.


About Jenny Phillimore

Jenny Phillimore is the Founding Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity and Professor of Migration and Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and of the RSA. Her research interests span refugee integration with a particular focus on health, housing and social networks and access to healthcare in superdiverse neighbourhoods. She has led multiple research projects for funders including the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the European Union, the Home Office and research foundations. She frequently appears in the media discussing superdiversity and integration and has advised Governments in the UK, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Jenny has published widely in leading academic journals such as Social Science and Medicine, BMJ, Urban Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Policy and Politics and Journal of Social Policy. She currently leads two major international projects: Welfare Bricolage examining healthcare seeking behaviours and provision in superdiverse areas (Norface) and SEREDA exploring refugees resilience and vulnerability to sexual and gender based violence in the refugee crisis (Europe and Global Challenges).

Keynote two: “We the Resilient”: Colonizing Indigeneity in the Era of Trump

Professor Julian Reid

Resilience is advancing throughout the world as a major new framework for the legitimization and further extension of neoliberal governance. Its advance threatens the poor and the vulnerable with new reasons to fear for their futures.
Resilience, however, is also deployed as a tool for strategies of resistance to power by groups considered to be among the most vulnerable.  This lecture critiques the functions of resilience in the political struggles of indigenous peoples against colonialism. In particular it is interested in the discourse of indigenous resilience, which has grown in the United States, following the election of Donald Trump as President. It looks at how indigenous resistance to Trump has been constructed as a feature of their ‘resilience’, tracing the sources of that discourse, revealing its dubious origins, which while involving the mobilizations of indigenous peoples at Standing Rock in protest at the Dakota Access Pipeline, owe to a complex range of different interests, involving profit-seeking corporations, artists, colonial knowledge, and neoliberal ideologues. The lecture compares the development of the discourse of indigenous resilience in the United States with that which is growing in the author’s own region, of Finnish Lapland and the wider Arctic Circle. Calling into question the rationalities shaping the discourse in both regions, the lecture will argue for much greater circumspection concerning claims as to the resilience of indigenous peoples, and even outright rejection of the concept on account of its implicit racism and compliancy with neoliberal colonialism.
About Julian Reid
Julian Reid is Professor of International Relations at the University of Lapland, Finland.  He was educated in London (B.A., First Class Honours, 1996), Amsterdam (M.Phil. 1998) and Lancaster (Ph.D., 2004). He began his career at the Universities of London (SOAS and King’s College) and Sussex (all UK) before accepting the Chair in International Relations at Lapland in 2010. He was Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor in Politics at the University of Bristol (UK) between 2013 and 2014 and Research Fellow at the Global Forum of Virginia Tech (USA) in 2017. In 2006 Reid published Biopolitics of the War on Terror, and in 2009 The Liberal Way of War: Killing to Make Life Live (coauthored with Michael Dillon). Resilient Life: The Art of Living Dangerously (coauthored with Brad Evans) was published in 2014 to wide critical acclaim. In 2016 he published his most recent monograph, The Neoliberal Subject: Resilience, Adaptation and Vulnerability (coauthored with David Chandler). He has edited collections on The Biopolitics of Development (with Sandro Mezzadra and Ranabir Samaddar, 2013) and Deleuze & Fascism (with Brad Evans, 2013). He is co-editor of the journal Resilience: Policies, Practices and Discourses (with David Chandler, Melinda Cooper and Bruce Braun) and a member of the editorial board of several other journals. His work has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Finnish Academy, the Kone Foundation, and the European Union (EU). He is currently leading the Finnish Academy funded research project, Indigeneity in Waiting (2016-2020). His work has been translated into several languages including Korean, Danish, Spanish, Turkish, Portuguese, Slovenian, and Bulgarian. His most recent article is ‘Foucault and the Imagination: The Roles of Images in Regimes of Power and Subjectivity’ which was published by the journal, Subjectivity, in 2018.

Keynote three: At the intersection of concern and suspicion: Children in the asylum process


Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor Rebecca Stern

Children seeking asylum are ascribed many roles: vulnerable objects of protection, family members, individuals with a right to international protection, social agents with the right to participate in decision-making processes, unwanted economic migrants and illegal migrants to name a few examples. A common denominator for these roles is that asylum-seeking children often are seen as migrants first, children second. It can be argued that this approach to migrating children both increases and downplays their vulnerability. It also opens the door for questioning their motives for applying for international protection. In some cases, the very basis for the child being considered a child – his or her age – is questioned. In this presentation, based on an ongoing research project on the impact of incorporation of the CRC in domestic law for asylum-seeking children, these issues are explored, drawing in particular on examples from refugee status determination and medical age assessment procedures.

About Rebecca Stern

Rebecca Thorburn Stern is a Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in International Public Law at the Faculty of Law, University of Uppsala, where she also received her doctorate in international law. She has researched and published widely in the area of asylum law, human rights law and children’s rights, and the implementation of international law on the domestic level, over the last decade. Recent publications include the monograph Implementing Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Participation, Power and Attitudes (Brill Nijhoff 2017) which includes a chapter discussing Sweden’s implementation of key articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the context of asylum-seeking children. Thorburn Stern is a co-founder of the Göteborg Lund/Uppsala Migration Law Network (GL/UMIN) and has previously worked for the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, the Swedish Red Cross, the Swedish Refugee Advice Centre and the Swedish Aliens Appeals Board. During the Spring semester of 2018, she was Visiting Professor at Minnesota Law School.