The programme group Transnational configurations, conflict and governance (TCCG) analyses politics as transnational processes in which a multitude of actors are involved. The group critically examines the identities, categories and boundaries at work in these processes, beyond state-based concepts and explanations. A key feature of the TCCG group is its interdisciplinarity. The group’s interest in transnational transformations has given rise to research on three main themes:
- studies of reflexivity and learning in policy development;
- a conceptually driven interest in new security challenges, migration and border control; and
- the study of authoritarian rule, democratic practices and contestation, with a focus on civil society and political processes beyond the state, both subnational and transnational.
The daily governance of transit migration in Turkey at European Union borders - The two-way influence of Turkish-European Union border and migration management practices
This project examines the daily governance of ‘transit’ migration by Turkish political and security professionals at the European Union (EU) borders. It draws upon a sociological approach that focuses on migration and border management practices by Turkish authorities within everyday forms of ‘risk’ governance. In particular, the research explores the two-way influence of EU and Turkish risk ‘perceptions’ and risk ‘technologies’ in relation to transit migration and investigates how such interaction affects daily experiences of migrants and gives way to new intentions, struggles and mobilities.
The research applies a triangulated methodology based on genealogy, qualitative interviews and ethnographic research. Data collection will take place at Turkey's two land border crossing points and at one sea border crossing point with the EU as well as in Ankara. Thus, the project is empirically, theoretically and methodologically original and makes a timely intervention into current debates over migration pressures facing the EU from Turkish territories, especially with regard to the increasing number of Syrian refugees in Turkey and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
The research will add to the European research excellence in critical security studies and produce results with the societal impact of raising awareness about Turkey becoming a key country of transit migration and immigration.
- Period: 24 months (2 year fellowship)
- Funding: Horizon 2020 Marie Curie IF
How has the EU been constructed in the Middle East debate and how has the Middle East been constructed in the European debate? These questions will guide the new network on EU-Middle East relations, led by the University of Amsterdam
EU-Middle East relations constitute a cornerstone of the EU’s external relations. The UvA will lead an international research consortium of seven European and Middle Eastern partners to bridge the gap between policy-making and academic research on EU-Middle East relations (EUMENIA). The network targets students and academics as well as think thanks, policy makers and NGOs.
The international consortium has received an Erasmus+ grant of €300.000 within the Jean Monnet Activities of the European Commission and will run for 3 years.
Collaboration, Research and Analysis Against the Financing of Terrorism
CRAAFT 'Collaboration, Research and Analysis Against the Financing of Terrorism' is an EU-funded international research network with partners in Belgium, the UK and Slovakia. The main objective of CRAAFT is to understand, analyse and develop Counter-Terrorism Financing capacities in the European Union. Its research objectives include the assessment of current threats, capabilities, legitimacy and futures of Counter-Terrorism Financing in the European Union and beyond.
Protecting migrants against violence
The Swedish Research Council has awarded a second major grant for collaborative research on migration between the Universities of Gothenburg and Amsterdam. This new grant will support Anja Karlsson Franck (Gothenburg) and Darshan Vigneswaran (UvA, IMES) to study how migrants seek protection from violence on the journey from Myanmar to Malaysia and Thailand. The project will run for three years.
International migrants are subject to a lot of violence. The international community finds this violence unconscionable and excessive, but has a limited understanding of how migrants can be protected from harm. Part of the problem is that research has consistently focused on how states and international organizations can protect migrant victims, instead of examining how migrants help to establish protection for themselves.
This project will contribute to efforts to understand and enhance migrant protection by studying how Myanmar migrants relate to migrant regularization schemes spanning Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. Tracing migrant trajectories along four migrant corridors from the beginning of their journeys to their end, we explore why migrants sometimes seek regularization, why at other times they seek ways of protecting themselves against the state, and how this seemingly ambivalent behavior shapes broader migrant protection regimes.
Collaboration between Sweden and the Netherlands
Forging a collaboration between two research projects that have thus far looked separately at the micro- (Franck) and macro- (Vigneswaran) dimensions of migrant protection, this project will generate new data, conceptual insights and practical knowledge to help us better understand how the everyday efforts of migrants determine the impact and effectiveness of international efforts to protect them from harm.
Geopolitical economy of the belt and road initiative and its reflections
A new joint research programme coordinated by Mehdi Amineh (University of Amsterdam and Program Director of EPA-IIAS), Willem Vogelsang (Deputy Director of IIAS), and Zhang Yuyan (General Director of IWEP-CASS) between the Institute of World Economy and Politics of the Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences and the Energy Programme Asia of the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden, The Netherlands.
The joint research programme analyses the origin, processes, and impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), focusing on the international and transnational activities of and responses to Chinese corporations in selected countries in Asia, Africa, and the European Union. We also examine the emergence, policies, and geopolitical impact of the related multilateral institutions set up by China, the regional and global reception of such multilateral institutions, their relationship to the activities and policies of Chinese corporations, and how these institutions could alter the existing regional and global order.
The current research programme is the third joint research project of the Institute of World Economy and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (IWEP-CASS) and the Energy Programme Asia of the International Institute for Asian Studies (EPA-IIAS).
Just Prepare - Putting REsident Practices And REsidential areas at the center of a JUST and effective energy transition in underprivileged neighbourhoods
In underprivileged neighbourhoods, attempts to realize the energy transition face mismatches between retrofit of poorly isolated houses and residents’ energy practices, and between residents and those actors planning and implementing solutions. These mismatches may hamper the energy transition in terms of effectiveness and justice (i.e. distribution of benefits and burdens; degree of access to decision‐making; and recognition of how vulnerable groups are affected by the energy transition). Shaping an effective and just energy transition in underprivileged neighborhoods encounters lack of knowledge about the diversity of energy related household practices, and about how to involve residents in planning and implementation of housing renovation.
This project develops the necessary methodological and substantive knowledge in Amsterdam-Zuidoost, Rotterdam Bospolder Tussendijken, Nijmegen and Gemert; uses that knowledge to create solutions in Living Labs with municipalities, housing corporations, residents and other relevant actors; improves these solutions on that basis; and prepares the findings for use elsewhere in a Learning Lab with Living Lab participants and a wider group of municipalities, businesses and other stakeholders.
The project is led by John Grin and Imrat Verhoeven of the UvA, and also includes Floris Vermeulen and Mendel Giezen of the UvA. Other involved researchers are from the Radboud University, TU Delft, Eindhoven University of Technology, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and HAN University of Applied Sciences. Furthermore, the project includes a total of 41 practice partners such as provinces, municipalities, housing corporations, energy companies, consultants and other organizations.
What are the political implications and effects of efforts to expand our human awareness and presence beyond the Earth’s atmosphere?
Decolonial Space is a collaboration between Darshan Vigneswaran of the the University of Amsterdam and Enrike van Wingerden of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, dedicated to the development of critical theories on outer space, power, and politics. We are interested in the political, economic, and cultural factors that drive human exploration and exploitation of outer space environments and resources. We investigate the forms of technology and power being developed to place man-made infrastructures and humans in outer space, to extract value from these sorts of ventures and the resulting hierarchies, inequalities, and frameworks of power and authority these efforts engender.
This project is build by reviewing and critically examining why International Relations scholars have neglected and struggled to understand the importance of outer space and by exploring how ‘decolonial’ and ‘more-than-human’ theories can help fill this lacuna. We will develop this project by establishing networks across the social and natural sciences and into the space sector, in order to further our understanding of politics and space.
At present, we are expanding this network in multiple ways.
- We are working with colleagues at the University of Chicago to build a database of space sector actors - academic, governmental and corporate who are working on projects that are dedicated to placing humans beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.
- We are building a comprehensive database of social scientific work on outer space, which we aim to make publicly available on this webpage.
- We are conducting a small-scale study of ethnographic methodology and space research, in the attempt to more clearly identify how colleagues can conduct in-depth research into outer space (while remaining on Planet Earth).
Over the longer term, we are seeking funding for two larger research projects:
1. Decolonizing Outer Space seeks to track the emerging principles governing human presence in outer space. By conducting in-depth ethnographic research into missions to send humans across the Earth system, solar system and galaxy, and building an archive of outer space colonization imaginaries, this project seeks to enrich our understanding of the emerging ‘constitutional order’ of outer space colonization, while providing engineers, activists, artists and administrators with the critical tools to build more just outer space futures.
2. Satellite Empire investigates the geopolitics of satellite infrastructure. Hypothesizing that satellite vision brings about new forms of power, this project empirically examines how scientists, companies, and governments assert control over environments important for satellite infrastructure. Through a multi-sited ethnography of planned satellite launch sites in the biodiverse and (post)colonial equatorial zone, it traces the connections between developments in space and more-than-human politics on Earth.
CitizenGap: Legal Identity for All?
Although we often think of undocumented persons as migrants or non-citizens, about one in seven people across the globe lack documents such as birth certificates, ID cards or passports to prove their legal identity, and thus their status as citizens in their own country. This gap between citizens with and without state-recognized documents can be just as consequential as the distinction between citizens and non-citizens. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals express the commitment to “by 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration” (Target 16.9).
The CitizenGap project – funded by the European Research Council – pursues two main questions: (1) How and why do states invest in civil registration? (2) How and why do citizens decide to obtain documents? To understand why millions of citizens are undocumented, it is crucial to remember that citizenship is not only a legal status, but first and foremost a political relationship between states and the populations they govern. CitizenGap advances a strategic theory that seriously considers the incentives of states and citizens in the politics of civil registration. The project analyzes the origins and nature of the citizenship gap through cross-national and in-depth country studies. To learn more about the project, please visit the CitizenGap website.