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The Moving Matters research programme focuses on the social consequences of the mobility of people, goods, power, and ideas. It examines migrating people, moving commodities, and the shifting networks of solidarity, remittances, knowledge, and power.
Moving Matters

The group explores themes such as illegal but licit flows, the effects of remittances on migrants' regions of origin, and the transnational circulation of racial knowledge. One example is the study of deportation regimes and their impact on state-citizen relations. Another is the investigation of commodity chains and their role in unequal development schemes.

The goal of Moving Matters is to explain the intricate social consequences of mobility and to contribute to a deeper understanding of how mobility and immobility are mediated by changing political power relations, especially focusing on the Global South. The programme emphasizes qualitative methods, particularly ethnography, and aims to broaden social science theorizing beyond European and North American perspectives.

Our projects
  • Exploring Undocumented Entrepreneurship: Brazilian and Indonesian Communities in the Netherlands

    Welcome to an exciting research project that delves into the entrepreneurial activities of undocumented immigrants from Brazilian and Indonesian backgrounds living in the Netherlands. This unique project serves two distinct but equally important audiences: master of science students interested in social issues and entrepreneurship who will conduct the research and undocumented entrepreneurs themselves.

    Academic opportunities

    Are you a master's student passionate about social issues and entrepreneurship? If so, this research project offers you a unique and intellectually stimulating opportunity. Our goal is to provide you with a hands-on experience that combines academic rigor with real-world impact.

    Research objectives

    Our primary aim is to gain a comprehensive understanding of how undocumented immigrants from Indonesian and Brazilian backgrounds navigate entrepreneurial opportunities while living in the shadows of Dutch society. Here's what you can expect to explore:

    • Livelihood Strategies: Dive into the daily lives of these communities, unraveling their employment, migration, and housing strategies. This aspect blends elements of anthropology and geography, offering a holistic view of their resilience.
    • Entrepreneurial Climbing: Investigate how these immigrants proactively establish and maintain connections between legal and illegal social networks. This multidisciplinary approach merges business studies and anthropology to reveal the secrets of their success.
    • Transnational Networks: Explore the role of transnational social networks and support from home governments. This dimension, incorporating geography and business studies, sheds light on the global nature of undocumented entrepreneurship.


    As a student researcher, you'll engage in various methods, including interviews, life histories, observation, and surveys with undocumented migrants. Our comparative approach is innovative and experimental, aiming to identify differences in approaches and success factors among the Indonesian and Brazilian communities.

    Undocumented entrepreneurs

    We understand that your situation is sensitive, and trust is of utmost importance. Here's why you can trust us:

    • University Independence: Our research project is conducted independently by the university, ensuring unbiased findings and recommendations.
    • Confidentiality: Your privacy is our priority. All aspects of this research project are treated with the utmost confidentiality. Your identities and personal information will be protected.
    • Relevance: This research aims to shine a light on the crucial role undocumented entrepreneurship plays in society and the challenges you face. By participating, you contribute to a better understanding of your experiences, ultimately advocating for change and recognition.


    This research project is a bridge between academia and the real world, offering master's students an incredible learning experience while providing a voice and understanding to undocumented entrepreneurs. We invite you to embark on this journey with us, making a difference in the lives of those living in the shadows of society.

    Join us

    Are you a master's student eager to contribute to groundbreaking research and gain valuable insights into undocumented entrepreneurship? Whether you're interested in the Brazilian or Indonesian community or have ideas for a different focus, we welcome your participation. You can send an email to: 

    Dr. L.G.H. (Laurens) Bakker

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

  • Eur-Asian Border Lab: Advancing Trans-Regional Border Studies

    Period: 01/11/2022 to 31/10/2025

    The Eur-Asian Border Lab aims to catalyse trans-regional synergies and intellectual conversations among scholars studying borders and bordering across different world regions. We test theoretical ideas in diverse empirical settings and apply insights from academically peripheral regions to the heart of mainstream theorization of border studies. We understand bordering as an increasingly complicated and nuanced conceptual process at the core of many critical developments and practices worldwide.

    Funded by the Horizon Europe Twinning programme

    Dr. C.H. (Tina) Harris

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

  • Disrupting Sameness in Dutch Academia

    Period: 01/09/2023 to 31/08/2026

    When organisations talk about equality, diversity and inclusion, they mainly focus on helping minority groups. But what about the norm group? This project examines what individuals and organisations do to maintain the norm, or ‘sameness’ (uniformity), by perpetuating privilege on the one hand and reproducing marginalisation on the other. The research will take place in different academic and professional settings where ‘professionalism’ is taught: in classrooms, middle management and the medical profession. It will reveal imagined similarities in values, attitudes and approaches to professionalism and develop concrete methods to break through them – to create more equal and inclusive Dutch universities. 

    Funded by NWO Advancing Equity in Academia through Innovation

    Dr. O.K. (Olga) Sooudi

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

  • Arboreal Nationalism: the Political Life of Trees in Palestine/Israel
    Dr. E. (Erella) Grassiani

    Project lead

  • The Impact of Covid-19 on tourism, livelihood and imagined futures of sustainable tourism development on Wakatobi Island, Indonesia

    Period: 01/01/2021 to 31/12/2023    

    Funded by the LPDP scholarship

    M.A. (Ashry) Sallatu

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Dep. Anthropology

  • Power, Identity, and Religion: Political Participation of Indonesian-Hadhrami in Indonesian Democracy

    Period: 01/01/2021 to 31/12/2024

    Funded by the LPDP scholarship

    G. (Geradi) Yudhistira

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

  • Practicing Halmath, resisting Caste: Reshaping the encounters of nomadic communities and the Indian state

    Period: 01/10/2021 to 30/09/2025

    Funded by the National Overseas Scholarship.

    A.S. (Arati) Kade

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

  • Pitching Promises, Imagining Futures: The Yogyakarta International Airport and Aerotropolis Development in Indonesia

    Period: 01/09/2021 to 31/08/2025

    Funded by the LPDP scholarship

    K.M. (Khidir) Prawirosusanto MA

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

  • Cross-border or Borderless Trade? The Delegation of Self-Regulatory System in Transnational Mobility (A Study in Kalimantan Border)

    Period: 01/09/2021 to 31/08/2025

    Funded by the LPDP scholarship

  • Navigating ‘Evil with Spiked Eyes': an ethnography on how the Orang Rimba contemporary Indonesian hunter-gatherers organise their education to address the pressures of assimilation
  • Navigating Uncertainty: The Future of Nusantara, Hope and Fear around Indonesia’s New Capital City
  • Breaking Barriers: The Emergence of Female Ulama in Politics

    Period: 01/12/2022 to 30/11/2026

    Funded by the LPDP scholarship

    H.A. (Hasna) Fadhilah

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

  • In Search of Balance: The Effectiveness of Law and Policy for Development in the Anthropocene Era

    by PhD candidate Dyah Ayu Widowati

    Period: 21/08/2023 to 20/08/2027

    Funded by the LPDP scholarship


  • REPAIR: Time to pay up? Reparations and global development challenges

    ​​​​​​​Reparations have become a popular demand around the world. Especially disenfranchised groups and countries in the Global South increasingly call for reparations. They ask for apologies for past harm, symbolic and institutional measures that recognize and prevent such harm, and – sometimes – for monetary payments.

    Reparations are part of broader efforts to create a more just economy. They are meant to respond to environmental pollution, mitigate the worst effects of climate change, compensate for infectious disease outbreaks and terrorist attacks, and bring some degree of justice for indigenous peoples and other minorities.

    Our research project studies new calls for reparations that address global development challenges. It compares reparations for infectious disease outbreaks, climate change, and toxic environments. The project’s research objectives are:

    1. Compare how reparations payments are established, implemented and received as part of addressing these global development challenges
    2. Learn what these payments teach us about reparations in development, from an economic, moral and political perspective
    3. Identify what these payments can tell us about economic life more generally.

Programme group leaders

Dr. S. (Shanshan) Lan

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Programme group: Moving Matters: People, Goods, Power and Ideas

Research staff