Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

TRAFIG: Transnational Figurations of Displacement: Connectivity and mobility as solutions to protracted refugee situations

How can we promote more durable solutions to protracted refugee situations and which roles can connectivity and mobility of displaced people play to improve protection and resilience?

2019 - 2021
Carolien Jacobs
EU Horizon2020

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 sociopsychological 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?


Institute for History, Leiden University
BICC (Bonn International Center for Conversion)
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (School of Spatial Planning and Development)
FIERI (International and European Forum on Migration)
CMPD (International Centre for Migration Policy Development)
SHARP (Society for Human Rights and Prisoners’ Aid)
CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute)
University of Sussex (Sussex Centre for Migration Research)
Yarmouk University (Refugees, Displaced Persons and Forced Migration Studies Centre)
Addis Abeba University (Department of Social Anthropology)
Danube University Krems (Department of Migration and Globalisation)

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