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Gunvor Jónsson


Departmental Lecturer in Migration and Development

Gunvor teaches on the MSc in Migration Studies. She specialises in migration and (im)mobilities in Africa, and the anthropology of West Africa (Mali/Senegal).

Gunvor’s research has tackled key aspects of mobility in Africa through pioneering projects which have privileged the perspectives of African scholars and migrants themselves. Since 2008 she has been a key member of the IMI team, where she has contributed to initiating research into migration processes and mobilities in Africa, and carried out both independent and collaborative research. She has produced several publications on human mobility in Africa for both academic and non-academic audiences, including its relations to climatic and environmental change, urbanisation, migration aspirations and immobility. Gunvor previously worked as an IMI Researcher on the African Migrations Programme and on projects including African Perspectives on Human Mobility; Mobility in the African Great Lakes; and Theorizing the Evolution of European Migration Systems (THEMIS).

Gunvor holds a BA and BA Honours in Anthropology from the University of Pretoria (South Africa), an MA in Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and a PhD in Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, London) which she completed in 2016. She was awarded the 2015 RAI/Sutasoma Award by the Royal Anthropological Institute (UK), in recognition of the potentially outstanding merit of her doctoral research.

Gunvor’s thesis, 'The End of the Railway Line. Malian Women, Mobility and Trade in Dakar', was based on twelve months’ fieldwork in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. It examines the experiences of Malian women traders residing permanently or temporarily in Dakar. The thesis uses the transformations of the colonial-era railway that linked Mali and Senegal as a lens onto wider global changes during the past decades of economic liberalisation. The analysis highlights the active roles that women play in income generation, mobility, spatial flows, and circulation by exploring their changing status in the region, and focusing on the lives and livelihoods of female household heads and mature unmarried women. Gunvor is currently editing the thesis for publication as a monograph.

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