European Research Council grants millions in funding for DIGNITY’s research on violence and confinement

“Inequality both drives and is driven by confinement and exclusion. When inequality and hopelessness increases due to war, poverty or climate change, people seek new places, and if you don’t find new ways to deal with it, you will end up resorting to more violence and confinement,” says Steffen Bo Jensen, who will lead the research project.

Steffen Bo Jensen is both a researcher at DIGNITY and a professor at Global Refugee Studies at Aalborg University.

“Our goal is to find new ways of talking about confinement in order to contribute to a world that is just a little bit more just. Because global inequality is a problem for all of us.”

The research project, called ‘Confined’, will run for five years in collaboration with international researchers and partners in Lebanon, Thailand and South Africa.

The research focuses on relations between the UK and Sierra Leone, labour relations between Malawi and South Africa, displacement from Myanmar to Thailand, and Palestinians in closed areas, camps and prisons in both the Middle East and Denmark.

As part of the team of researchers, Steffen Bo Jensen also has his two DIGNITY colleagues Tomas Max Martin and Andrew M. Jefferson:

“We can take our ongoing work to explore how violence and confinement affect people’s everyday lives in the Global South to a whole new level. For example, together with talented colleagues from Thailand and Australia, I will have the opportunity to explore how refugee families from Myanmar struggle with marginalization and abuse across prisons, camps and slums in Thailand. What challenges do they face? And what are they doing to survive and protect themselves?” says Tomas Max Martin, who is supported by his colleague Andrew M. Jefferson:

“This is the type of field-based and theoretically grounded research that we at DIGNITY strive for as we pursue our vision of a world without torture.”


  • The five-year project is called “CONFINED: Unpacking confined lives – Generating a global research agenda on the intersection of urban marginality, displacement, and confinement”.
  • CONFINED is headed by Professor Steffen Bo Jensen in the Department of Politics and Society at Aalborg University in Copenhagen and consists of researchers from Denmark (Aalborg University, VIVE–Danish Center for Social Science Research, and DIGNITY), Australia and the Netherlands as well as collaborators in Lebanon, Thailand and South Africa.
  • The European Research Council (ERC) awarded EUR 2.5 million (approx. DKK 18.6 million) in an ERC Advanced Grant which is the ERC’s basic research and excellence grant. This year’s total grant pool of almost EUR 652 million is part of the EU Horizon Europe programme.

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