Human geography perspectives on time
Doctoral candiate Kari Anne Drangsland is the last addition to the research stab at SKOK.
Kari Anne is part of the project WAIT, and will soon start collecting data for her research project.
Kari Anne completed her master thesis in Human Geography at the University of Bergen in 2007. In the following years she first worked as a researcher at SNF at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), and eventually co-founded the Centre for City Ecology in Bergen - a centre with the abitious goal of combining insights from research, art, and architecture in order to promote environmental-friendly and social urban development. Among other issues, Kari Anne focused on sustainable development and migration. Her interest in urban planning and migration was key when Kari Anne applied for the PhD-fellowship at SKOK.
Kari Anne is still in the start phase of her project, which will focus on irregular migrants in Hamburg, Germany, although she will carry out a pilot project in Walldorf, a small town close to Heidelberg in southern Germany. In Walldorf, she will conduct fieldwork at a community centre that serves as a meeting point for irregular migrants. In addition to the overarching theme of the WAIT project - how time is experienced by migrants - Kari Anne wishes to examine what she calls "the geopolitical perceptions of time", such as ideas about the future, about risk, and about demographics, and how these ideas shape legislation and politics. Through the exploration of these two dimensions of time - experiential and geopolitical - she hopes that her contribution to Project WAIT will contribute to new knowledge and understanding of the relation between time and migration.
While Kari Anne does not have a background from the field of gender studies, she is quick to point out the impact of feminist critiques in the field of human geography. As many of the researchers at SKOK, gender is not the main subject of her research, but rather a cross-cutting dimension and category of analysis which can be used to highlight different experiences of time, or how understandings of time can be gendered. An example, she argues, is how "the vulnerable body" is conceptualized. Such gendered conceptions of the body and of time can produce very concrete effects, for instance by shaping politics. This makes it highly relevant to examine these issues at the present moment, Kari Anne argues, as political dilemmas concerning migration have been at the forefront of the public debate in Europe following the refugee crisis. An increasing number of refugees have to wait an increasing amount of time in order to get their formal status determined. It is therefore important that we understand the time-dimension of irregular migration better. Research on migration can also contribute to new understandings of the welfare state, and new perspectives on our own society. Thus, it holds the potential to contribute both to a theoretical development of time, as well as to further our understanding of our self.
Kari Anne says that her encounter with the multidisciplinary gender research at SKOK has been very inspiring, and highlights the inclusive atmosphere and genuine interest of the stab at SKOK. She enjoys being able to develop her interest in human geography, and claims that the gender perspective that she gains working at SKOK has enabled her to approach her own field from a different angle.