IFG II « Inequality & Mobility »

The IFG “Inequality & Mobility” aims to examine the complex relationships between rising inequalities and diverse types of mobility in present-day Tunisia and the wider Maghreb.

The Second Interdisciplinary Fellow Group (IFG) examines the complex relationships between rising inequalities and diverse types of mobility in present-day Tunisia and the wider Maghreb, elaborating an agenda for MECAM’s research pillar “inequality and mobility” . Seven early career researchers from different disciplines – namely political science, psychology, anthropology, geography and urbanism – comprise the fellow group and have worked together at MECAM in Tunis between September and December 2021. Alongside the individual research and publication projects each fellow pursued during the 4-month stay, the IFG proposed a scientific programme involving, but not limited to, the following activities and events:

  • Regular IFG seminars in Tunis allowing for, the presentation of concluded, on-going or planned research; the discussion of research methodologies, ethics and risk; the introduction of invited early career researchers based in Tunisia to the fellow group; the collaborative planning and realisation of fieldwork endeavours and publications.
  • Partner workshops enabling the members of the IFG to network and exchange with senior academics, early career researchers and Masters’ students at two of MECAM’s partner institutions, the Université de Tunis (Department of Geography) and the Université de Sfax (Department of Geography and Department of Sociology);
  • MECAM spectrum series allowing the fellows of IFG II to present their research in diverse institutions, different settings and varying audiences during their stay in Tunisia: for instance in the framework of Research Excursion I (urban (im)mobilities in Greater Tunis, in cooperation with ISTEUB) and Research Excursion II (water governance and socio-spatial inequalities in Siliana, in cooperation with OSAE and OTE); but also in seminars with Masters’ students at the Centre d’Anthropologie de l’Université de Sousse and at the Département de Psychologie de l’Université de Tunis;
  • MECAM winter talks inviting external researchers, activists and associations based in Tunis and elsewhere to enter into dialogue with the IFG and its main research theme: for instance, an online winter talk on industrial labour, inequality and mobility brought together researchers in Tunisia and researchers based in France and Germany; analogue winter talks brought together researchers working on border economies in Tunisia at the University of Sfax, and a larger, international group of researchers for the launch of a network on border studies at the University of Sousse; civil society organisations in Tunisia, like OSAE, International Alert and Jamaity, jointly organised public events with members of the IFG to discuss recently published work or current issues of importance in Tunisia.

After the end of on-site activities in Tunisia with an evaluation and feedback seminar on December 6th, the IFG continues its work online with a focus on joint publications that result from the collaborative work achieved during the 4-month stay at MECAM: the curation of a shared blog series on TRAFO (run by MECAM’s partner institution Forum Transregionale Studien), as well as the work on an edited volume that documents and extends the work on “inequality and mobility” undertaken by the IFG II will be at the centre of this continued engagement. The members of IFG II have additionally applied for joint conference sessions and a workshop in Tunisia in 2022 that will hopefully provide an opportunity to bring together all fellows at MECAM once again and will become a starting point for building lasting collaborations in the future.