Global Challenges
Lunch seminar

The Power of Promises

How do promises shape the relationship between refugees and the receiving society in Norway?

Silhouettes of three persons by the water at sunset
Manuel Insberg

Main content

Welcome to a lunch seminar with IMER Bergen.

Promises play a crucial role in the refugee regimes of Western liberal democracies. They appear in political speeches, bureaucratic practices, asylum law, or integration programs: Protection, a good life, or participation in the receiving society present some of the promised objects that are reserved only for certain ‘deserving’ groups of forced migrants. Meanwhile, the integrity of the nation and the prosperity of the welfare state are often guaranteed as well.

In this seminar, Manuel Insberg will present some of his findings from 11 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. Drawing primarily on recent anthropological and feminist literature, he explores how promises shape the relationship between refugees and the receiving society by engendering powerful images of the future.

We would appreciate it if you register here before the event (not binding nor compulsory).


Manuel Insberg is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern in Switzerland and a short-term visiting PhD scholar at the Center for Women and Gender Studies (SKOK) at UiB.

In his doctoral thesis, he explores the continuing presence of violence in the everyday lives of individuals, who have received a refugee status in Norway, along with the socio-political conditions and historical legacies that underlie it. Manuel is part of the SNF-Ambizione project ‘Violent Safe Havens? Exploring Articulations and Repercussions of Violence in Refugee Reception and Settlement’ funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.