Marthe Achtnich

Status : Wiener-Anspach Postdoctoral Fellow

ULB - Institut de Sociologie
44 avenue Jeanne - CP 124 - 1050 Bruxelles
Office: S12.206
Tel.: +32 2 650 34 23 - Fax: +32 2 650 43 37

I am an anthropologist working on migrants’ journeys in contexts of crisis. Through a combination of ethnographic research and conceptual synthesis my work fosters new understandings of the anthropology of mobility.

I am currently a Wiener-Anspach postdoctoral fellow at the LAMC, ULB, and a postdoctoral associate at the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford. My postdoctoral research at the ULB (Commodified Mobility: Rethinking Sub-Saharan Migrants’ Journeys through Libya and Malta) examines relations between mobility and commodification.

My doctoral work on mobility (Mobility in Crisis: Sub-Saharan Migrants’ Journeys through Libya and Malta; Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford; 2017) front-stages the idea of the ‘journey’ as a unit for understanding migrants’ movements. Through multi-sited ethnographic research in Libya and Malta, examining undocumented sub-Saharan migrants’ journeys by boat to Europe, I developed an anthropological mode of enquiry better attuned to mobility. This included a number of concepts (confinement, stillness, borders, navigation) that encapsulate and articulate experiences of mobile, migrant subjects. My work on mobility in crisis contexts was followed up by a small grant from the Society for Libyan Studies (a British academic body and charitable organisation, sponsored by the British Academy; 2017-2018) to generate longitudinal, temporal perspectives on mobility (Afterlives of Journeys).

My research has been funded by a number of bodies at doctoral (Konrad-Adenauer Foundation; Kellogg College, Anthropology, Politics and International Relations in Oxford) and post-doctoral levels (Wiener-Anspach Foundation; Society for Libyan Studies). I also hold an MPhil in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and have earlier work experience on collaborative migration-related projects, in academia (DIAMINT) as well as for the UK Government Office for Science (BIS, Foresight) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Some of my wider themes and areas of interest include: the anthropology of mobility; relations between economies, mobility and migrant journeys; commodification; borders, biopolitics and embodiment; health and migration; movement and temporality.

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