Simon Turner

Simon Turner

Guest researcher

Primary fields of research

My primary research interests include:

  • gender - in particular masculinities
  • refugees - in particular refugee camps and humanitarian organizations
  • ethnic conflict and genocide
  • diaspora
  • invisibility, secrecy, rumours and conspiracy theories
  • Burundi and Rwanda

Current research

1) State-Diaspora relations. Presently I am finishing a research project on the relationship between the Rwandan state and its diaspora. The Rwandan state is keen to engage its diaspora as part of a state building project after the genocide. I argue that the state distinguishes between a positive and a negative diaspora and that it is heavily engaged in trying to neutralising the potentially harmful effects of the so-called negative diaspora. The research is based in five months of fieldwork in 2011-12. The fieldwork was funded by the Danish Research Council and was part of a larger research project called 'African Diasporas as Agents of Change?'

2) The Camp. I am engaged in research networks exploring spaces of confinement of various kinds. We compare refugee camps, prisons, ghettos and education camps etc. We organized a conference, exploring 'stuckness' in October 2013 and are in the process of writing a special issue of Social Analysis with some of the papers from this conference. I am editing a special issue of Journal of Refugee Studies on camps. And finally I have contributed to Agier's volume 'Un Monde du Camps' (2014).

3) Hope. Much of my research revolves around the questions of emplacement and displacement and how to introduce the concept of time into these questions. I have written about Hope as a means of acting towards a future in situations of uncertainty and I have written about displacement as a strategy. This is based mostly on fieldwork among clandestine Burundian refugees in Nairobi.

4) Anticipations of Violence. I am starting a new research project exploring common people's reactions to the present eruptions of electoral violence in Burundi. I will be doing collaborative research with a Dutch anthropologist where she will be doing fieldwork in Bujumbura while I will be doing fieldwork amongst Burundians who have fled the violence to neighbouring Tanzania. The objective is to explore anticipations of violence and how people navigate towards an unkown, potential danger based on past experiences of violence.


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