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Transnational Figurations of Displacement: Connectivity and Mobility as Solutions to Protracted Refugee Situations

Project description

Understanding refugees’ connectivity

Worldwide, more than 16 million displaced people have been in exile for long periods of time without prospect of return, resettlement or local integration. While they are experiencing protracted displacement, most are not helpless. Many refugees and internally displaced people can draw on the support of transnational and local networks. The EU-funded TRAFIG project undertakes comparative empirical research in refugee camps, cities and rural areas in Africa, Asia as well as Europe and aims at answering the following questions: How do displaced people deal with the complex system of asylum and aid? How do refugees sustain their living in long-lasting situations of uncertainty? How do transnational networks affect refugees’ lives and future options? How do displaced people and host communities interact? What are the wider economic impacts of displacement? The overarching goal of the project is to support the development of alternative solutions to protracted displacement.


TRAFIG introduces a novel perspective on protracted displacement situations (PDS) that will improve the protection and resilience of refugees and enhance trust and cooperation between refugees and host communities. It considers the transnational and local connectivity of displaced people and host communities as well as their capability of mobility as socioeconomic and socio-psychological resources that displaced people use and upon which their resilience relies. The project will develop a rapid assessment tool to identify the most vulnerable groups in PDS and to analyse interactions between displaced and host communities. As an evidence-based tool for creating impact, it will support policymakers and practitioners to enhance the self-reliance of displaced people as well as host-refugees relations through tailored programming and policy development. We closely cooperate with key stakeholders throughout the entire life cycle of the project. Our research is based on a novel concept of transnational figurations of displacement that combines the figuration model – a meso-level approach emphasizing the networks of interdependent human beings – with the transnationalism approach and state-of-the-art knowledge on forced displacement. Through comparative empirical research, both qualitative and quantitative, in camps and urban settings at sites in Asia, Africa, and Europe, TRAFIG will answer the following questions: (1) How do displaced people gain access to and make use of humanitarian and migration policies and programmes? (2) Why and how do displaced people live in vulnerable situations and sustain their livelihoods? How can policy support their self-reliance? (3) How do transnational networks shape refugees’ experiences and trajectories? (4) Which processes structure relations between displaced people and host communities? (5) What are the medium and long-term economic impacts of PDS?

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 996 177,00
Pfarrer-byns-strasse 1
53121 Bonn

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Nordrhein-Westfalen Köln Bonn, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (11)