Dr. Christine Ludl | Associated Researcher

Mobilities, Migrations, Reconfiguration of Spaces
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: chludel  ( at )  zedat.fu-berlin.de Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700 or 70707
Website: http://http://

Position : | Disciplines : Political Science |


With a background in political sociology, Christine Ludl’s work focuses on migration, mobility and urban transformation in the Global South, in particular in West and South Africa. She earned her PhD from Freie Universität Berlin and Sciences Po Paris and held postdoctoral positions at the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand and the French Institute of South Africa in Johannesburg as well as with the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies at the University of Bayreuth, Germany. Her PhD thesis dealt with representations of mobility and related notions of personal ambition and social prestige of migrants from the Senegal River region traveling between France and their countries of origin. Building on her work on representations of mobility and diversity of West-African migrants in Johannesburg’s inner city she is currently working on questions of mobility and urban citizenship in Johannesburg. She has a keen interest in questions of methodology and the production of knowledge in the social and cultural sciences and, especially, in the history and epistemology of the concept of (social) representation(s).


  • Migration and urban transformation (South Africa).
  • West-African migrations (Senegal, Mali, Mauritania) to France, South Africa, and the U.S.
  • History and epistemology of the concept of (social) representation(s).
  • Methodology and epistemology of the social and cultural sciences.

Title of thesis

Representation(s) of mobility, personal achievement and social prestige. Migrants from the Senegal River Valley traveling between their countries of origin and France.

Summary of thesis

Representation(s) of mobility, personal ambition and social prestige. Migrants from the Senegal River Valley travelling between their countries of origin and France.

This Ph.D. thesis explores the representation(s) and imaginations of migrants from the Senegal River Valley traveling between their countries of origin and France. The project pursues a twofold objective: Firstly, to account for recent transformations of representation(s) of power, legitimacy, and success, as well as for a diversification of ways to accede to social prestige, as they have been observed in various African countries. Secondly, to further develop a theoretical and methodological framework for the analysis of representation(s) and the imagination and to provide a detailed understanding of the relations between culture, politics and representation(s). The study draws on an interdisciplinary theoretical framework building on anthropology, social psychology and (the) philosophy (of culture), leading to a methodological framework that combines non directive interview with the analysis of cultural performances. It aims at reconsidering the important role of traveling, shown by classical works on migrations from this region, which frequently, and in a rather essentialist manner, conceive of migration as a “tradition” or as “initiation rituals”. In contrast to that, the study highlights their interdependence with recent social, economic and political dynamics in host and sending countries. It reveals new forms of conceiving the relations between mobility and social prestige, especially in relation to time, as well as ambiguities and contradictions stemming from of social and power relations during the migration process. However, the study also shows the ways in which the  migrants deal with these ambiguities, leading to a coherent “narration of the self”.


Prof. Dr. Nils Diederich (Freie Universität Berlin) / Prof. Dr. Denis-Constant Martin (CERI-Sciences Po Paris)


  • Reconfiguring Representation(s) and Infrastructures of Urban Citizenship: Migration and Urban Regeneration in Post-Apartheid Johannesburg (South Africa).
  • A conceptual history and epistemology of Representation(s).

Representations and Infrastructures of Citizenship: Mobility, Migration and Urban Regeneration in Post-Apartheid Johannesburg (South Africa)

This project explores, both theoretically and empirically, the articulation of mobility, infrastructure and urban citizenship in post-apartheid Johannesburg and asks how categories of citizenship and city-ness are embedded in and contested through the (experience of) the built form the city. It draws on notions of urban citizenship and recent approaches to the study of infrastructure in anthropology and sociology and relies on a careful selection of ethnographic methods to analyze both representations of citizenship and the engagement with infrastructures of individuals and groups. Ultimately, the project aims at contributing to an emerging strand of literature which aims at the decolonization and a methodological and epistemological renewal of urban studies by engaging in comparative research that starts from the experiences of non-Western cities.


Articles in peer-reviewed journals:

Chapters in edited volumes:

  • (2014) “Ambivalent Cosmopolitans? Representation(s) of Senegalese and Malian Migrants in Johannesburg”, in Mamadou Diouf, Rosalind Fredericks (eds.): The Arts of Citizenship in African Cities. Infrastructures and Spaces of Belonging, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, p. 231-252 (peer reviewed).
  • (with Gonin, Patrick) (2007) "Générations de la migration. Introduction", in Emmanuel Ma Mung, Cédric Audebert (eds.) Les migrations internationales: enjeux contemporains et questions nouvelles, Bilbao: Publications de l'Université de Deusto, p. 177-181 (editor reviewed).

Review articles:

  • (2014) Dominique Vidal: Migrants du Mozambique dans le Johannesburg de l’après-apartheid. Travail, frontières, altérité, Paris, Johannesburg, Karthala-IFAS, 2014, in: Politique africaine (135), p. 230-232.
Publications in PDF format