Can mobility emplace? War and displacement from the Donbas since 2014

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: IRES Library, Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor
  • Lecturer: Emma Rimpiläinen
  • Organiser: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Contact person: Michael Watson-Conneely
  • Seminarium

Since February last year, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused displacement on an unprecedented scale, with millions of people fleeing the bloodshed within Ukraine and across national borders. However, this is not the first instance of mass displacement in Ukraine, which for years has had a sizeable internally displaced population due to the war in the Donbas region since 2014. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Ukraine and Russia between 2018 and 2019, this presentation examines this instance of displacement and interrogates the role of both mobility and immobility in producing displacement as a social phenomenon. Former Donbas residents’ concerns with especially housing and documents are discussed in their own words in order to challenge the connections between state-mandated categories of welfare and citizenship, and the actual practices of everyday life. The presentation argues for a more nuanced conceptual understanding of displacement, one recognising that displacement often affects both those who leave and those who stay. That is, mobility in itself is not the cause displacement, although they may co-occur.

Speaker Bio
Emma Rimpiläinen is a postdoctoral researcher at IRES. She completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2021. Her dissertation scrutinises displacement in the aftermath of the war in the Donbas, Eastern Ukraine, and promotes an understanding of displacement as a process through which people’s relations with place, the future, and knowledge get sundered. Apart from mobility and displacement, Emma’s research interests include housing, materiality, and property relations in the former Soviet Union. Prior to joining IRES, Emma worked at Finnish Refugee Council, where she advised refugees from Ukraine arriving to Helsinki.