Ann-Christin Wagner

Picture_Ifpo_WagnerPhD candidate

International Development, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh (UK)

Personal page: School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh


Ann-Christin Wagner is a PhD candidate in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh, and associated with IFPO’s branch in Amman, Jordan. She is currently conducting one year of ethnographic fieldwork with Syrian refugees in Mafraq, a Jordanian border town adjacent to Zaatari camp, the Middle East’s largest Syrian refugee camp.
In addition, she also volunteers as an English teacher for ActionAid, an international NGO based in Mafraq, and as an interpreter for NOIVA, a Swiss humanitarian organisation catering for Syrian refugees and the Jordanian host community in town. In this role, she is involved in conducting various educational programmes for children and adults.
Having completed master’s studies in the humanities and cognitive science in Paris, Ann joined the International Organization for Migration in Geneva in 2013 as a Carlo-Schmid fellow funded by the German government. As a research officer, she contributed to the preparation of the IOM’s World Migration Report 2015 on “Migrants and Cities”. In addition, she has two years of working experience with GIZ and Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation in Germany, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jordan.
Ann speaks German (mother tongue), English, French and Levantine Arabic.

Research project
Ann’s doctoral research, which is funded by the University of Edinburgh’s Graduate School of Social and Political Science, investigates the relationship between ‘waiting’ and forced migration among a population of Syrian refugees in Mafraq, a site of urban displacement in Jordan. The dissertation coincides with the protraction of the Syrian civil war, a change of international development paradigms and local security discourses and the aggrandizement of legal limbo and precarity for Syrian refugees in Jordan. This presents anthropologists with a unique opportunity to examine a refugee population-in-wait at a moment of shifting temporalities – from waiting for imminent return to waiting as a long-term perspective – as well as new ways of relating to places – from returning to the homeland to preparing for onward migration, returning to fight or settlement in Jordan. Importantly, ‘waiting’ is understood not as an absence, but as a complex of strategies of survival and resistance. Its study provides a diagnostic of how Syrian refugees’ spatial and social mobilities are intertwined, i.e. how they deal with interrupted migration journeys and disrupted lives, and how specific immobilities are produced in their interactions with the international humanitarian regime. As an access point to an understudied refugee population in an urban environment with heightened challenges for ethnographic fieldwork, Ann volunteers with various local and international aid organizations operating in Mafraq.
Current research interests include cross-border mobility, including pre-war migration histories and family ties; gendered opportunities for work for Syrian refugees in Mafraq; Syrians’ interactions with the complex humanitarian sector in Mafraq; remaking families, bodies, homes.
Based on her own fieldwork experience of living with a Jordanian host family and numerous house visits to Syrian families with humanitarian organizations in Mafraq, Ann is also currently working on formulating a methodology of hospitality.

Forced migration, urban refugees, waiting, mobility, ethnography, gender