Prof Tanja R. Müller

Professor of Political Sociology

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Research interests

Research Grants, Philosophy and Agendas

Collaborative Research Grants

(1) Transnational lived citizenship: Practices of citizenship as political belonging among emerging diasporas in the Horn of Africa (PI; with Oliver Bakewell as Co-I); GBP 789,731.20; ESRC 2020-2023.

(2) Making Peacekeeping Data Work for the International Coomunity (with Roger Mac Ginty (PI), Bertrand Taithe and Celia Russell); GBP 994,355.40; ESRC 2014-2017.

(3) Humanitarian Relief and Conflict Response in Interdisicplinary and Applied Perspective, ESRC Seminar Series (with Bertrand Taithe (PI), Tim Jacoby and James Thompson); GBP 17,692; ESRC 2009-2011.

(4) Community based systems in HIV treatment (with Sarah Bracking (PI), Phil Woodhous and David Lawson); GBP 129,998; European Commission, 2009-2012

Individual Research Grants

(1) Moving the goalposts of citizenship? German business sector engagement and refugee integration; GBP 8,422; British Academy, 2018-2021.

(2) ‘From Refugee to Pioneer?’ (Re-)claiming Rights and a Future within the Israeli Asylum Regime: A study among the Eritrean community of Tel Aviv; GBP 6,570; British Academy, 2011.

(3) Memories of Paradise. Life journeys of a cohort of young Mozambicans after schooling and vocational training in the former German Democratic Republic; GBP 6,486; Nuffield Foundation, 2008.

(4) Junior Farmer Field and Life Schools as a mitigation tool in HIV/AIDS. A Pilot Study in Mozambique; GBP 7,500; Nuffield Foundation, 2007.

Research Agendas

I have recently completed a research project on the potential role of the business sector in refugee integration and humanitarian response.  Currently, I am the Principal Investigator of an ESRC-funded project on transnational lived citizenship and political belonging in the Horn of Africa. I am also developing a new cooperation with Prof Adriana Kemp from Tel Aviv University on inscribing mobile lives into urban peripheries.

The major philosophical threads behind my academic research to date can be summarised under the slogan aspirationandrevolution and centre on three major themes: (1) Revolution and new elites; (2) Revolution and the quest for global solidarity; and (3) Revolution and global rights.

(1) Revolution and new elites: Within an overall framework of post-revolutionary elites, my work on revolutionary states investigates how post-conflict political trajectories are determined by patterns of rebel governance. It also interrogates how the dynamics of post-revolutionary politics result in either developmental states or authoritarian polities, or a combination of both. Past work has focused extensively on Eritrea, and to lesser extents on Mozambique, Nicaragua and Vietnam. Methodologically parts of this work are based on extensive interview, life history and observation data. In addition to numerous journal articles, this work has resulted in a book on Eritrean elite women: The Making of Elite Women. Revolution and Nation Building in Eritrea, Boston and Leiden, Brill Publishers, 2005.

(2) Revolution and global solidarity: Following from my work on the politics of post-revolutionary societies and my particular interest in how major political events are played out in individual lives, another line of research deals with post-socialist legacies. Before the end of the Cold War socialism offered a different blueprint for societal development not least for a large number of post-liberation societies in the Global South. Once the Berlin Wall had fallen, many of these settings were treated as a ‘blank slate’ upon which a new future of neoliberal capitalism was to be built. Such a view ignores the pervasiveness of the political in everyday life and the fact that social-solidarity centres counter narratives are still prevalent in lived realities. My work on tracing those ethnographies of post-socialist change has resulted in my latest book entitled Legacies of socialist solidarity - East Germany in Mozambique published by Lexington Books in autumn 2014. It also engages with changing conceptions of soildarity in humanitarianism and development, with a particular focus on changing patterns of celebrity humanitarianism (see the edited volume Visual Global Politics).

(3) Revolution and global rights: Following from my work on post-socialist legacies that also engages with individual and collective identites, an new line of research has emerged on belonging and transnationalism. It interrogates the dictum on the aspiration for connection among populations of the Global South and using life history interviews and artistic expressions of refugees in different geographical settings exploresinsurgent citizenship as a form of resistance – the latter has focused on a comparative investigations into different refugee settings in Tel Aviv and Thessaloniki. It feeds into wider debates about a world order where global rights are being recognised beyond the nation state. Of late, this work has been expanded to questions of political belonging among diaspora populations.

Country Experience

Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Senegal, Japan, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Cuba, Israel, Greece, Germany. 


Research and projects

  1. Community based system in HIV treatment

    Bracking, S., Lawson, D., Mueller, T. & Woodhouse, P.


    Project: Research

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