University of Edinburgh Featured PhD Programmes
University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
University of East Anglia Featured PhD Programmes

Vulnerabilities’ and ‘Capabilities’ within the Context of Protracted Displacement Crises

School of Applied Sciences

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
Dr K Sharapov , Dr T Guma No more applications being accepted Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Whilst the ’vulnerabilities’ of individuals forced to cross borders and of internally displaced persons have been often highlighted and documented over several decades, less is known about the ’capabilities’ of displaced people themselves to respond to contexts of exile/displacement. This project will seek to address this gap by focussing on both ’vulnerabilities’ and ’capabilities’ (de Haas 2010) of displaced individuals and communities within the comparative context of conflict and climate-change related displacements.
By working closely with members of both displaced and ‘host’ communities, the project will consider micro-, meso- and macro-level narratives around ’vulnerabilities’ and ’capabilities’ within the context of forced displacement to generate and disseminate knowledge of how rhythms (Lefebvre 2013) and rituals of exile sustain displaced populations. It will also focus on how political and politicised labels of ‘illegality’, ’smuggling’, ’trafficking’, ’refugees’, and other ’convenient images’ (Zetter, 2007) and competing definitions relate to experiences and visibility of violence experienced by displaced individuals and communities on a ‘continuum of displacement, transition and resettlement’ (Catolico 2013).

This project will investigate, explore and engage critically with a proposed theoretical continuum running from extreme ’vulnerability’ to ’capability’ and empowerment in displacement. To do this, this project will encompass social science approaches to interviewing IDPs, refugees and key informants; social science evidence from databases held by the international and national organisations (including International Organization for Migration); and humanities-based approaches of collecting video, visual and written documentation relating to rhythms and ritual practices during ’liminal’ periods (Menjivar 2006) for displaced communities.

Successful applicants will work under supervision of Dr Kiril Sharapov and Dr Taulant Guma, and will join a thriving intellectual community of scholars and practitioners working in the field of migration at Edinburgh Napier University (for more information see Migration and Mobilities Research Network website: In setting out a research proposal as part of the application process, applicants should identify proposed geographical context(s) for their investigation.


- A completed application form
- CV
- Two academic references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (You will find this on the application process page)
- A personal research statement. (This should include (a) a brief description of your relevant experience and skills, (b) an indication of what you would uniquely bring to the project and (c) a statement of how this project fits with your future direction. If you are not responding to an advertised project, then your personal research statement will need to include an outline of the project you are proposing)
- Evidence of proficiency in English (if appropriate)

Academic qualifications
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in social sciences or humanities with a good fundamental knowledge of key issues surrounding migration, development and human rights.

English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:
• Experience of fundamental analysing qualitative data using recognised methods.
• Competent in a discipline related to the project, such as, but not limited to, human geography, sociology, migration studies, refugee studies, anthropology or socio-legal studies.
• Knowledge of the discipline and of research methods and techniques to develop and complete an individual PhD-level research programme
• Good written and oral communication skills
• Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
• Good time management

Funding Notes

This is an unfunded position however we may consider applications for the University Fee Waiver Studentships (for EU and Home students only)


Catolico, O. (2013). Seeking life balance: The perceptions of health of Cambodian women in resettlement. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 24(3), 236-245.

de Haas, H. (2010) Migration transitions: A theoretical and empirical inquiry into the developmental drivers of international migration. International Migration Institute: University of Oxford.

Lefebvre, H. (2013) Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life. Bloomsbury Academic.

Menjivar, C. (2006) Liminal Legality: Salvadoran and Guatemalan Immigrants' Lives in the United States. American Journal of Sociology, 111(4), 999-1037.

Zetter, R. (2007) More Labels, Fewer Refugees: Remaking the Refugee Label in an Era of Globalization. Journal of Refugee Studies, 20(2), 172–192.

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.