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Postdoctoral position as part of the research project: Reorienting Integration

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The Department of Anthropology, School of Culture and Society, Faculty of Arts, Aarhus University invites applications for a 30-month fixed-term postdoctoral position in the field of refugee studies, with a particular focus on children, families, welfare institutions and civil society.

The appointment begins on 1 January 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter and will be of limited duration until 30 June 2025.

The successful applicant will be based at the School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Department of Anthropology, Moesgaard, 8270 Højbjerg.

The university is keen for its staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes
applications from all qualified applicants regardless of their personal background.

Research context
The postdoctoral position will be part of the research project “Reorienting integration: Family-to-family as a model in Congolese UN-quota refugees’ settlement and orientation towards a new life in Denmark”. The project is headed by professor (mso), Mikkel Rytter and funded by the Velux Foundation (2022-2026). The project is a collaboration between the Department of Anthropology at Aarhus University, the Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE) and the Center for Vulnerable Refugees (CUF), which is part of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). The ambition is twofold:

1) To follow a cohort of Congolese UN-refugees from day one in order to understand their gradual inclusion into Danish worlds over a longer period of time.
2) To develop a “family-to-family” model as a tool to ease and improve the settlement of UN-quota refugees in the coming years. The overall theoretical ambition is to start ‘reorienting integration’.
For the first time since 2015, the Danish government has decided to accept UN-quota refugees. In 2021-2022 approximately 400 Congolese individuals (mainly single mothers and children) will arrive in Denmark. The refugees have lived under harsh conditions in camps in Rwanda since the 1990s; they have survived mainly on UN subsidies and many suffer from trauma and PTSD. The project explores the experiences, difficulties and potentialities of settlement.

The families from the 2021-cohort are dispersed in 33 municipalities. We follow the refugee families’ ongoing encounters with different representatives of the state, the municipality and civil society who each promote different ‘integration projects’ (such as language schools, internships and housing schemes) in an attempt to further the families’ socio-cultural, economic and political inclusion into Danish society. We also experiment with understanding the potentials of a ”family-to-family” model where Danish families are matched with Congolese refugee families.  

The post.doc-project should focus on children. Children are often neglected or forgotten in research on refugee families. Still, children tend to play an important role in the families’ settlement and reorientation, as they the are often extremely adaptable to new languages, ways of doing things and establishing relationships. The project, should approach children as actors in their own right and follow the children of 6-10 families, and explore how refugee children enter, adapt to or contest local Danish worlds at school, in day-care institutions or sport clubs? How they navigate within the “family-to-family” model and develop new relationships to significant others in the guise of friends or fictive kin? How children in different ways connect the family to wider social and institutional arenas and what obstacles that involve? 


01 September 2022  

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