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Durham University

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Transitory Lives: An Anthropological Research of the Migration Crisis in the Mediterranean

A research project of the Department of Anthropology.


This project is a collaborative, comparative study of irregular migration flows in emergency contexts. It focuses on the central and south eastern Mediterranean migration routes covering the channel of Sicily and the eastern Aegean islands that are currently receiving unprecedented levels of irregular migrants. The study addresses this urgent social crisis by bringing a network of academics with long term regional expertise together with practitioners and NGOs directly involved in humanitarian aid and support in order to fill an important gap in knowledge about the current migration emergency. Our comparative study addresses the social effects of high-risk migration upon migrants and receiving communities, documents the shortcomings and strengths of current policies and structures, and will facilitate further development of comprehensive research and policy responses to migration emergencies.


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Transitory Lives: An Anthropological Research Of The Migration Crisis In The Mediterranean (£140601.94 from ESRC)

Published Results

Authored book

  • Knight, D. M. (2015). History, Time and Economic Crisis in Central Greece. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Tsimouris, G. (2007). Imvrii: Fugitives from our place, hostages in our homeland. Athens: Ellinika Grammata.

Edited book

  • Theodossopoulos, D. & Kirtsoglou, E. (2010). United in Discontent: Local Responses to Cosmopolitanism, Multiculturalism and Globalization. Oxford: Berghahn.

Journal Article

  • Kirtsoglou, E. & Tsimouris, E. (2016). “Il était un petit navire” The refugee crisis, neo-orientalism, and the production of radical alterity. Journal of Modern Greek Studies Occasional Paper 9: 1-14.
  • Kirtsoglou, E. (2013). The Dark Ages of the Golden Dawn anthropological analysis and responsibility in the Twilight Zone of the Greek Crisis. Suomen Antropologi journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society 38(1): 104-108.
  • Lyon, S.M. & Fischer, M.D. (2006). Anthropology and displacement: Culture, communication and computers applied to a real world problem. Anthropology in Action 13(3): 40-53.

Chapter in book

  • Tsimouris, G (2009). Anthropological approaches to migration in post-war Greece. In Facets of Anthropological Research: Culture, History, Representations. D. Gefou-Madianou Athens: Ellinika Grammata.
  • Tsimouris, G (2009). Imaginary Geographies and international migratory communities: new or old in late capitalism? In Spatial Transformations: Social and cultural dimensions. M. Spyridakis Athens: Nissos.

Edited Journal

  • Tsimouris, G & Athanasiou, A (2013). Mapping the biopolitics of borders: de-grounding bodies and places. Special Issue, Migration, Gender and Precarious Subjectivities in the era of Crisis. The Greek Review of Social Research, B/C (140-141).


From the Department of Anthropology

From other departments