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Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Ms Gunvor Jónsson


Gunvor Jonsson
Ms Gunvor Jónsson
Email address:
Thesis title:
The Migration Processes of Young Women in Mali
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

My project examines the processes of migration of young women (15-25 years) of rural origin to the city of Kayes in western Mali. These processes are examined within the wider context of social transformations in Mali, linked to developments in communications and transport technology, the increasing desire and need for cash and consumer goods, and concomitant cultural changes particularly in the realms of gender relations and wider family structures. Through the use of multi-sited research and mobile methods, I aim to document and analyse the migration trajectories of young women; the networks, identities and forms of inclusion and belonging these women develop in Kayes; as well as the wider translocal social field emerging between the women’s places of origin and Kayes city. The study will examine the meanings of migration for migrants themselves and the ways young women navigate the various social meanings and values related to female mobility in Mali. The analysis will explore the links between migration and the overarching concept of mobility, including the links between geographical mobility and imaginary, social and physical mobility and immobility. I thus aim to contribute to a more holistic understanding of mobility, translocalism and belonging.  The main research questions of the study are: What are the factors that motivate and shape female migrants’ itineraries and trajectories? How does the tension between individual agency and collective solidarity and harmony play out in the process of female migration? And to what extent do women overcome imaginary, social and physical immobility through migration?

My blog on migration and anthropology in Africa: http://gunvorjonsson.wordpress.com/

PhD Publications

  • Jónsson, Gunvor. “Migration, identity and immobility in a Malian Soninke Village”. In Knut Graw & Samuli Schielke (eds). The Global Horizon: Migratory Expectations in Africa and the Middle East. Leuven: Leuven University Press. In Press.
  • Cohen, Robin & Jónsson, Gunvor (eds). 2011. “Migration and Culture”. UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Gunvor Jónsson and Oliver Bakewell (2011). “Migration, Mobility and the African City: Synthesis report on the African Perspectives on Human Mobility research programme”. Online: http://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/pdfs/research-projects-pdfs/aphm-pdfs/aphm-synthesis-report-2011
  • Gunvor Jónsson (2011) “Africa-based Migration Research: Experiences from a collaborative programme” IMI Policy Briefing 10, September 2011. Online: http://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/pdfs/research-projects-pdfs/aphm-pdfs/pb-11-10-africa-based-migration-research-experiences-from-a-collaborative-programme
  •  -- (2011) “Imagination and Connectedness: Consumption of Global Forms in a Malian Village”. Paper presented at the European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), Uppsala, 2011. Paper currently under review at Mande Studies:  The Journal of the Mande Studies Association. Online: http://www.nai.uu.se/ecas-4/panels/61-80/panel-74/Gunvor-Jonsson-Full-paper.pdf
  • -- (2010) 'The environmental factor in migration dynamics – a review of African case studies'. IMI Working Paper no. 21, University of Oxford: International Migration Institute.
  • -- (2009) 'Comparative report: African migration trends'. Report prepared for the African Perspectives on Human Mobility Project (funded by the MacArthur Foundation).
  • -- (2008) 'Migration aspirations and involuntary immobility in a Malian Soninke village'. Working paper no.10, University of Oxford: International Migration Institute.
  • Jónsson, Gunvor. 2007. “The Mirage of Migration: Migration Aspirations and Immobility in a Malian Soninke Village”. Master’s Thesis. Institute of Anthropology. University of Copenhagen.
  • Niehaus, I. with Gunvor Jónsson. 2005. “Dr. Wouter Basson, Americans and Wild Beasts: Men’s Conspiracy Theories of HIV/AIDS in the South African Lowveld”. Medical Anthropology, 24(2).