Portrait of Frederika Treeby

Frederika Treeby

PhD student
Social Anthropology


PhD project: Isolation, social networks and belonging among ex-detainees of UK Migrant Removal Centres: a phenomenological approach

This research takes as its subject ex-detainees of UK Migrant Removal Centres. Those awaiting their asylum hearings are denied the rights of a citizen and may be seen to exist in a state of temporality, separated from relationships that had previously given their lives social meaning. During detention such migrants solidified new social relations that contributed to the process of community formation during the subsequent phase of their dispersion, and that formed the basis of new social networks upon their resettlement across the UK. 

The intended aims of Frederika’s investigation are to: 

  • examine how the experience of detention has contributed in the formation of new social networks and a related sense of community among ex-detainees 
  • collect original knowledge regarding the social and cultural reconstitution of migrant identities, and the renewal of relationships during adjustment to post-detention life
  • assess how cultural background and social status influence the ex-detainees’ experiences of dis-empowerment, lack of autonomy and a subsequent renewed participation in community. ​ 

She will consider this group through the lens of three overlapping and current spheres of anthropological interest pertinent to this research: an experiential view of asylum-seeking refugees; the anthropology of charities and NGOs and their position within an increasingly privatised and politicised field; and humanitarianism as a theoretical and moral subject of anthropological debate. 

Frederika regards afresh the creation and maintenance of an imagined local and global community constituted by individual ex-detainees, all united through the previous experience of detention. By centring my field research from within an ex-detainee support charity, I will ask how such NGOs may impact the creation of a community and thus provide new knowledge into the intricate experiences of migration. The proposed research is expected to contribute to understanding of how detention, dispersion and hegemonic institutions structure the migrant experience.


Professor Dimitrios Theodossopoulos
Dr Matthew Hodges


Graduate Secondary Teaching Scheme stipend

Last updated