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Gunvor Jónsson

Departmental Lecturer in Migration and Development

  • Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College

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

Gunvor’s doctoral thesis in anthropology, 'The End of the Railway Line. Malian Women, Mobility and Trade in Dakar', focuses on the experiences of Malian women in the Senegalese capital (Dakar) who previously deployed the Dakar–Niger Railway and its terminus station in Dakar to facilitate their trade and market their goods. It examines the impacts of the increasing liberalisation of the Senegalese political economy upon urban space and livelihoods, and upon gender roles and relations. The analysis revolves around a period of significant spatial and infrastructural transformation in 2009, when the Malian market at the terminus station in Dakar was bulldozed and the passenger train was privatised and subsequently stopped running. Based on twelve months' fieldwork in Dakar, the thesis deploys the novel methodological approach of small-scale multi-sited ethnography to examine how recent urban and infrastructural developments impacted on the Malian women’s networks, livelihoods and place-making. The thesis focuses on unmarried mature women and female household heads, and examines the relationship between women’s involvement in independent trade and travel, and their financial and social autonomy.

Gunvor’s PhD was funded by a doctoral scholarship from SOAS (University of London). It was awarded the RAI/Sutasoma Award for 2015 by the Royal Anthropological Institute, in recognition of its potentially outstanding merit.


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).

She holds an MA in Anthropology from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and a BA and BA Honours in Anthropology from the University of Pretoria (South Africa).

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