dr. L.S. (Lea) Müller Funk
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group: Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference
Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
Lea Müller-Funk is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. Between 2016 and 2017, Lea was an OxPo post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. Before that, she was a PhD researcher at the Centre Internationale des Recherches Internationales at Sciences Po Paris (2012-2016) and a university assistant and lecturer at the Institute for Near Eastern Studies at Vienna University (2011-2016). Her core research interests include migration, transnational politics and media with a focus on the Middle East.
Lea’s PhD focused on Egyptian diaspora activism in Paris and Vienna during and after the Arab Uprisings and was written in the framework of a Cotutelle agreement between Sciences Po Paris and Vienna University (supervisors: Catherine Wihtol de Wenden and Stephan Procházka). It received the Award of Excellence 2016 from the Austrian Ministry of Science, Research & Economy. Her current Marie Curie project SYRMAGINE (2017-2019) focuses on how Europe is imagined by Syrians settling in two of Syria’s neighbouring countries (Lebanon and Turkey) and examines how their imaginations affect their attitudes to seek asylum in European countries. The project wants to highlight forced migrants' agency in taking migration decisions with the idea to understand their living conditions in the first country of displacement and their aspirations in regard to return, stay and on-migration.
Before her PhD, Lea was a trainee at the Department of the European Council and the Council of the European Union at the Austrian Foreign Ministry (2010-2011). She attended Vienna University (BA in Political Science, 2009; Magister in Arabic and Islamic Studies, 2010), the Institut National des Langues et Cultures Orientales in Paris (2007/2008), and Sciences Po Paris (MA in Comparative Politics / Middle East and Muslim World, 2010). She has held research affiliations to the Institut français du Proche-Orient Beirut (2017-2019), Koç University (2018), Nuffield College (2016), the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (2012) and the American University Beirut (2009).
Lea’s current Marie Curie project SYRMAGINE focuses on how Europe is imagined by Syrians settling in two of Syria’s neighbouring countries (Lebanon and Turkey) and examines how their imaginations affect their attitudes to seek asylum in European countries. While the project focuses on imaginations of Europe, it also includes the perceptions of those who do not want to migrate further and the imaginations of other possible destination countries and a possible return to Syria in comparison. SYRMAGINE understands ‘geographical imaginations’ of Europe as subjective human conceptions of a geographical location and stresses the differences between ‘imagined regions’ and reality. SYRMAGINE contributes to the academic literature on the active role of imaginations in refugees’ decision-making and has two main objectives: 1) to investigate the relation between refugees’ imaginations and decision-making and to study how the present country of residence compares to Europe (and other countries) as a destination choice, 2) to examine how refugees inform themselves about social and political realities in European countries. The project adopts a mixed-method approach combining a survey, semi-directive interviews and an online ethnography.
Lea is currently also working on the publication of a monograph entitled Egyptian Diaspora Activism during the Arab Uprisings based on her PhD research, which will be published in the Routledge Studies Global and Transnational Politics. It explores the links between recent political developments in Egypt and emigration. More specifically, it examines the question of how the revolution in 2011 and its aftermath influenced emigrants’ political perceptions and actions regarding their homeland, focusing on mobilisations in Paris and Vienna. The book takes an interdisciplinary macro and micro approach by investigating policies which influence migrants’ political transnational behaviour and looking at individual activists’ perspectives. Methodologically, it combines a policy analysis, expert interviews, semi-directive interviews and digital methods to study social media.
Together with Félix Krawatzek, Lea is currently also co-editing a special issue on Political Remittances and Political Transnationalism in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. In this special issue, they advance the idea that the concept of political remittances provides a distinct analytic lens on the transnational reality of migrants, namely the act of multidirectionally transmitting political ideas, vocabulary and practices between different places of destination and origin.
Information about the project, (working) papers and events
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 748344.
- Lebanon: 1 February - 30 April 2018
- Turkey: 1 May - 31 July 2018
Conferences and talks
- Les sciences sociales en question : grandes controverses épistémologiques et méthodologiques, Sciences Po Paris (CEE/CERI), 25 October 2018.
Lecture "Enquêter auprès de populations déplacées : le cas des réfugiés syriens en Turquie et au Liban"
- Viennese Anthropology Days (VANDA), University of Vienna, 20 September 2018.
Paper “Stay, return or move on: Involuntary immobility and acquiescent (im)mobility of Syrians in Lebanon.”
- 10th DialogForum – Dialogue between Politics, Science and Practice, Danube University Krems, 18 September 2018.
Paper “The role of external players in refugee politics in the Middle East: Lebanese and Turkish policies towards Syrian refugees and geopolitical constellations.”
- 2018 IMISCOE Annual Conference: Europe, migrations and the Mediterranean: Human mobilities and intercultural challenges, Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, 2-4 July 2018
Panel "Forced displacement from Syria and Syrian migration rationales" (convened together with Dr Ching-An Chang)
Ching-An Chang (PhD Candidate, University of Edinburgh): Relocation Rationales of Syrian Businessmen
Lea Müller-Funk (Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Amsterdam): Migration aspirations and decision-making of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Turkey
Irene Tuzi (PhD Candidate, Sapienza University of Rome): Relocation of Syrian Refugees entailing Informal Secondary Mobility in Europe
Chair: Dr John Palmer (Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, Pompeu Fabra University)
Discussants: Katharina Natter (University of Amsterdam), Reinhard Schweitzer (University of Sussex)
Roundtable Aspiring refugees? Debating the role of aspirations in the study of forced migration (organised by Milena Belloni (CeMIS, University of Antwerp), Christiane Timmerman (CeMIS, University of Antwerp))
- IMISCOE Workshop: Aspirations within the context of changing refugee migration dynamics, University of Antwerp, 1 December 2017.
Paper: “SYRMAGINE: Syrian Imaginations of Europe: Theoretical and Methodological Considerations” (PPT below)
Planned working papers
- Working Paper 1 – Ethical challenges, methodological approach and observations from the field
- Working Paper 2 – General Conclusions and Policy Recommendations
- Müller-Funk, Lea. “The role of external players in refugee politics in the Middle East: Lebanese and Turkish policies towards Syrian refugees and geopolitical constellations.” Unpacking Migration Blog, 18 September 2018.
- Müller-Funk, Lea. "Kein Ende in Sicht: Libanesische Flüchtlingspolitik im sechsten Jahr des syrischen Bürgerkriegs.“ Das Magazin der Österreichischen Liga für Menschenrechte. September 2017, p. 21-34 (pdf below).
Presentations and links
- Müller Funk, L. S. (Accepted/In press). Fluid identities, Diaspora Youth Activists and the (Post-) Arab Spring: How Narratives of Belonging Can Change over Time. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
- Müller Funk, L. S., & Krawatzek, F. (Accepted/In press). Political Remittances and Transnationalism: Two Centuries of Multidirectional Flows between ‘Here’ and ‘There’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
- Müller Funk, L. S., & Krawatzek, F. (Eds.) (Accepted/In press). Special issue: Political Remittances and Political Transnationalism: Practices, Identity and the Role of the State. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
- Müller Funk, L. S. (2018). Egyptian Diaspora Activism during the Arab Uprisings : Routledge (Routledge Studies in Global and Transnational Politics Series). Insights from Paris and Vienna. (Routledge Studies in Global and Transnational Politics Series). London: Routledge.
- Müller Funk, L. S. (2018). Une typologie des activistes transnationaux: L’exemple des activistes égyptiens à Vienne et à Paris dans les soulèvements arabes. In L. Chauvet, F. Gubert, T. Jaulin, & S. Mesplé-Somps (Eds.), Les migrants, acteurs des changements politiques en Afrique ? (pp. 21-38). Brussels: Deboeck Universite Press.
- Müller Funk, L. S. (2016). Diaspora Mobilizations in the Egyptian (Post)Revolutionary Process: Comparing Transnational Political Participation in Paris and Vienna. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 14(3), 353-370.
- Müller Funk, L. S. (2014). Transnational Politics, Women & the Egyptian Revolution: Examples from Paris. Mashriq & Mahjar: Journal of Middle East Migration Studies , 2(1), 29-55. DOI: 10.24847/22i2014.25
- Müller Funk, L. S. (2018). Diaspora politics and political remittances: a conceptual reflection. In R. Cohen, & C. Fischer (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Studies (pp. 251-259). London: Routledge.
- Müller Funk, L. S., & Procházka, S. (2016). Einleitung. In Unterwegs in Saudi-Arabien: Historische, gesellschaftliche und kulturwissenschaftliche Hintergründe (pp. 9-18). Vienna: Selbstverlag des Instituts für Orientalistik der Universität Wien.
- Müller-Funk, L. (2016). Inventing an Egyptian transnational nation: Homeland politics in the Arab Spring Uprisings between migration processes, diasporic policies and political opportunity structures. In E. Ambrosetti, D. Strangio , & C. Wihtol de Wenden (Eds.), Migration in the Mediterranean: Socio-Economic Perspectives (pp. 192-212). (Routledge Studies in the European Economy; Vol. 38). London: Routledge. [details]
- Müller Funk, L. S., Procházka, S., Telič , A., & Selz, G. (2014). Einleitung. In Kulturelle Schnittstelle Mesopotamien, Anatolien, Kurdistan. Geschichte. Sprachen. Gegenwart (pp. 5-15). Vienna: Selbstverlag des Instituts für Orientalistik der Universität Wien.
- Müller Funk, L. (2016). PhD Award of Excellence 2016 (Austrian Ministry of Science, Research & Economy).
- Müller Funk, L. (18-09-2018). The role of external players in refugee politics in the Middle East: Lebanese and Turkish policies towards Syrian refugees and geopolitical constellations [Web] Unpacking Migration Blog. The role of external players in refugee politics in the Middle East: Lebanese and Turkish policies towards Syrian refugees and geopolitical constellations.
- Müller Funk, L. & Krawatzek, F. (01-10-2017). Political Remittances and Political Transnationalism [Radio] DPIR Oxford Podcasts. Podcast Political Remittances and Political Transnationalism.
- Müller Funk, L. (30-09-2017). Kein Ende in Sicht: Libanesische Flüchtlingspolitik im sechsten Jahr des syrischen Bürgerkriegs [Print] Das Magazin der Österreichischen Liga für Menschenrechte. Kein Ende in Sicht: Libanesische Flüchtlingspolitik im sechsten Jahr des syrischen Bürgerkriegs.
- Müller Funk, L. (25-07-2017). Political Remittances and Political Transnationalism: Narratives, Political Practices and the Role of the State [Web] OXPOL: The Oxford University Politics Blog. Political Remittances and Political Transnationalism: Narratives, Political Practices and the Role of the State.
- No ancillary activities