33. Forced Migrations Online - Forced Migration & Anthropological Response (Pr Elizabeth Colson)


Learning outcome

After completion of the following activities, students will gain a sound knowledge of forced migration through an anthropological perspective. They will also developed familiarity with the Forced Migrations Online database.


Please read Colson’s article ‘Forced Migration and the Anthropological Response’ and answer the questions below.


According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) the year 2015 was the highest level of worldwide displacement ever recorded. By the end of 2014, more than 59.5 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide due to escalating war and conflict. This figure also included 38.2 million internally displaced persons.

Professor Elizabeth Colson is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. She has addressed several topics through her anthropological work from politics, religion, social organisation, social change, migration, anthropological history and theory to the ethnography of Africa and North America. One of her most significant research was her 1956 field work with the Gwembe Tonga of Zambia. Colson’s ethnographic studies have made theoretical contributions to the sub-disciplines of applied development and political anthropology; and played a key role in consolidating the Refugee Studies Centre in Oxford. 

A wealth of documents (including the journal of refugees studies and videos and podcasts) can be found on Forced Migration Online (FMO) which is home to a growing collection of free resources relating to refugees and forced migration. FMO is designed for use by students, academics, practitioners, policy makers, the media, forced migrants or anyone else interested in the field of forced migration. By bringing together these useful and time-saving resources, FMO aims to support research and policy making in the field.

Take quiz

Question 11 pts

What causes the loss of trust in government and institutions?

Question 21 pts

Apart from forced migration which other fields have seen the rise of anthropologists’ intensity of engagement in ethnographic studies?

Question 31 pts

Anthropologists have conducted ethnographic research on the experiences of refugees and internally displaced persons in camp settings. What are the other areas of focus for research? (Tick all that apply)

Question 41 pts

Which of following words are seen as dehumanizing to refugees?

Question 51 pts

Refugees as well as the notions of identity and belonging have been the subject of much research. Peteet found that Palestinians base their sense of identity and belonging on:

Question 61 pts

What are the other causes of forced migration? (Tick all that apply)

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