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Profile summary

  • Research Staff
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
  • School of Hist, Rel St, Soc, SP&C
  • Sociology
  • umut.erel

Professional biography

Senior Lecturer in Sociology


Research interests


Dr. Erel’s research employs an intersectional approach and explores how gender, migration and ethnicity inform practices of citizenship. This has first been developed in her PhD looking at skilled migrant women from Turkey in Britain and Germany (2009), then she explored these issues in the context of paid and unpaid work of refugee women in the voluntary sector and migrants in new areas of multiculture.

Her current research focuses on care and citizenship among migrant mothers and their co-resident children. This explores how migrant women’s mothering practices can be conceptualized as citizenship practices. The focus is on questions of belonging and participation for the mothers and their children, for more information see

She is currently PI on an ESRC funded research grant on ‘Participatory Arts and Social Action Research (PASAR): Participatory Theatre and Walking Methods' Potential for Co-producing knowledge’ (January 2016 - December 2017) . This work focuses on exploring and developing participatory walking and theatre methods for use in social science research, dissemination, engagement and teaching. Substantively the project builds on her interest in migrant families’ citizenship, exploring intergenerational relations and the marginalization of migrant families affected by the ‘No Recourse to Public Funding’ policy. A reflection on the methods is available in this podcast and this blog

This builds on a range of empirical projects on migrant mothers’ citizenship including an AHRC funded networking activity on ‘Migrant Mothers’ Caring for the Future: Creative Interventions into Citizenship’ (PI Umut Erel, CI Tracey Reynolds, University of Greenwich) (2013-15), consisting of a series of seminars, an international conference and a series of participatory theatre workshops with migrant mothers. In this project, she applied participatory theatre methods as a research method to explore the theoretical notion of how migrant mothers enact citizenship. The project website with audio-visual clips from the theatre workshops, presentations of the conference and seminars and a theatre performance is available at(


Co-Director of Research Programme Migration and Belongings, Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance


Externally funded research

- January 2016-December 2017 ‘Participatory Arts and Social Action Research (PASAR): Participatory Theatre and Walking Methods', Economic and Social Research Council £452,821 PI with CIs Maggie O’Neill, York University and Tracey Reynolds University of Greenwich.

- May 2013-Feb 2015 ‘Migrant Mothers Caring for the Future: Creative Interventions into Citizenship’, AHRC Networking Grant, £32,500. PI with CI Prof. Tracey Reynolds, LSBU.

- November 2009 ESF Exploratory Workshop ‘A Caring Europe? Gender, Care and Migration in Europe’, European Science Foundation, Euro 14.000. PI with CIs Nicola Yeates and Parvati Raghuram


PhD supervision

Since 2016: Marianna Latif ‘Migrant fathers’ identities’ (part-time)

Since 2015: Kiran Nihalani ‘How can emerging practices which acknowledge interdependence and foster solidarity prefigure new forms and relationships of social welfare?’

Since 2015 – Xenia Rochelle Jones ‘A critical ethnographic study of the Philippine Overseas Foreign Workers Phenomenon to explore its impact on poverty alleviation via the ‘Padala’ practice’ (part-time)

Completed PhDs

Hilal Alkan Zeybek on Enacting Citizenship: Practices of Intimacy and Gift-Giving in Turkey.



2009: Migrant Women Transforming Citizenship. Aldershot: Ashgate.


Journal articles

Erel, Umut, Reynolds, Tracey and Kaptani, Erene ‘Migrant Mothers’ Racialized Citizenship’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, under review

Erel, Umut; Murji, Karim; Nabahoo, Zaki 2016 ’Understanding the contemporary race-migration nexus: Reflections on the UK in European context’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39 (8), pp. 1339-1360

Erel, Umut and Tracey Reynolds: Research Note: Black Feminism and Migrant Mothers’ Participatory Theatre, Feminist Review, SI on Black Feminism December 2014.

Erel, Umut 2013 ‘Kurdish Migrant mothers enacting citizenship’ Citizenship Studies, Special issue on Reproducing Citizenship, 17 (8), pp. 970-984

Erel, Umut 2012 ‘Engendering transnational space: Migrant mothers as cultural currency speculators’, Special Issue on Gender and Transnationalism of European Journal of Women’s Studies, vol 19 (1) November, pp. 460-74.

Erel, Umut and Helma Lutz 2012 ’Gender and transnationalism’ European Journal of Women's Studies November 19 (4) pp. 409-412

Erel, Umut 2012 Introduction: Transnational Care: Changing Formations of Citizenship, Family and Generation, Social Politics 19 (1) pp. 1-14

Erel, Umut 2011 ‘Complex belongings: Racialization and migration in a small English city’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 34 (12), pp. 2048-68

Erel, Umut 2011 ‘Reframing Migrant Mothers as Citizens’, Citizenship Studies, vol 5 (6-7), pp.695-709

Erel, Umut ‘Making Migrant Women Visible’ Special issue of Cahiers du Genre on Mobilizing Migrant Women in Europe, vol 51 Dec 2011, pp. 135-154

Erel, Umut 2010 Migrating Cultural Capital - Bourdieu in Migration Studies’, Sociology 44 (4) August 2010, pp.642-660

Erel, Umut 2008 ‘Constructing Meaningful Lives: Biographical Methods in Research on Migrant Women’, Sociological Research Online, Volume 12 (4), 2007 (Reprinted in: Life Story Research, edited by Barbara Harrison, Sage: 2008.)


Edited Books

- L, Ryan, U. Erel, A. D’Angelo (eds.) 2015 Placing Capitals: Migration, Networks, Identities. Palgrave.

- M. Morokvasic, U. Erel, K. Shinozaki (eds.) 2003 On the Move! Gender and Migration: Crossing borders and shifting boundaries. Leske & Budrich



Book chapters

‘Re-thinking Citizenship through Migrant Women’s Life-Stories’ in E. Gutierrez Rodriguez and M. Littler (eds.) (2015) Creolizing Europe. Liverpool University Press.

‘Thinking Migrant Capitals Intersectionally: Using a Biographical Approach’, in L. Ryan, U. Erel, D’Angelo, A. (eds.) Migrant Capital. Networks, Identities and Strategies, Palgrave.

‘Troubling’ the problematization of intergenerational relations: migrant children’s views, in J. McCarthy, C.-A. Hooper, V. Gillies (eds.) (2013) Family Troubles. Bristol: Policy Press.– 2nd, paperback edition 2014.

2010: ‘Migrant Women Challenging Stereotypical Views on Femininities and Family’ in Gill, R. and Scharff, C.M. (eds.) New Femininities:Postfeminism, neoliberalism and subjectivity (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan).

2010: with Jin Haritaworn, Encarnación Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Christian Klesse: On the Depoliticisation of Intersectionality Talk. Conceptualising Multiple Oppressions in Critical Sexuality Studies. In: Taylor, Yvette; Hines, Sally, Casey, Mark E. (eds.) Theorizing Intersectionality and Sexuality. Palgrave Macmillan.


Teaching interests

I chair the module The Uses of Social Science DD206, and have contributed to DD102, DD103 and DD206, having previously chaired D844 Ethnography.

Impact and engagement

2016: Workshop on participatory theatre methods for Evelyne Oldfield Trust, Research and Women's Conferences

2012-14 Chair of the Milton Keynes Council’s Ethnic Diversity Commission, specific responsibility to lead 15 public, private and voluntary sector professionals in conducting the first ever consultation on Ethnic Diversity in Milton Keynes. I led the consultation and the report with groundbreaking recommendations.

2010-11 Academic consultant to Roj Woman, Kurdish Women’s NGO in London on their reports ‘Women Human Rights Defenders in Kurdish Regions of Turkey’ and ‘Empowering Kurdish Women in London’

2011: Evidence to European Commission Report on Migrant Women in Europe

2009: 90 second lecture: ‘British Jobs for British Workers?’

2008: Migrants’ Rights Network consultation on Pathways to Citizenship

2008: workshop for gender researchers and activists from the Middle East on Gender and Migration at the Conference on Gender, Migration and Ethnicity at the Lebanese American University Beirut, January 2008

2006: Commission for Racial Equality consultation on migration and racism


I am on the board of Research Committee 05 Racism, Nationalism, Ethnicity and Indigeneity of the International Sociological Assocation.

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences


Understanding the contemporary race–migration nexus (2016-05-13)
Erel, Umut; Murji, Karim and Nahaboo, Zaki
Ethnic and Racial Studies, Volume 39,(8) (pp. 1339-1360)
Understanding the contemporary race–migration nexus (2016)
Erel, Umut; Murji, Karim and Nahaboo, Zaki
Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39(8) (pp. 1339-1360)
Research note: black feminist theory for participatory theatre with migrant mothers (2014-11-01)
Erel, Umut and Reynolds, Tracey
Feminist Review, 108(1) (pp. 106-111)
Kurdish migrant mothers in London enacting citizenship (2013-12-01)
Erel, Umut
Citizenship Studies, 17(8) (pp. 970-984)
Gender and transnationalism (Editorial) (2012-11-31)
Erel, Umut and Lutz, Helma
European Journal of Women's Studies, 19, Article 1(4) (pp. 409-412)
Engendering transnational space: migrant mothers as cultural currency speculators (2012-11)
Erel, Umut
European Journal of Women's Studies, 19(4) (pp. 460-474)
Complex belongings: racialization and migration in a small English city (2011-12)
Erel, Umut
Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(12) (pp. 2048-2068)
Reframing migrant mothers as citizens (2011-10)
Erel, Umut
Citizenship Studies, 15(6-7) (pp. 695-709)
Rendre visible l'activisme des femmes migrantes (2011)
Erel, Umut
Cahiers du Genre, 51 (pp. 135-154)
Migrating cultural capital: Bourdieu in migration studies (2010-08-01)
Erel, Umut
Sociology, 44(4) (pp. 642-660)
Constructing meaningful lives: Biographical methods in research on migrant women (2008)
Erel, Umut
Sociological Research Online, 12(4)
Racism and anti-racism in Europe: a critical analysis of concepts and frameworks (2007-09)
Erel, Umut
Transfer, 13(3) (pp. 359-375)
Migrant women transforming citizenship (2009-06)
Erel, Umut
Studies in Migration and Diaspora
ISBN : 978-0-7546-7494-8 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Aldershot
Thinking migrant capitals intersectionally: using a biographical approach (2015-03-01)
Erel, Umut
In: Ryan, Louise; Erel, Umut and D'Angelo, Alessio eds. Migrant Capital Networks, Identities and Strategies . Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship (pp. 18-32)
ISBN : 9781137348791 | Publisher : Palgrave | Published : Houndmills
'Troubling' or 'ordinary'? Children's views on migration and intergenerational ethnic identities (2013)
Erel, Umut
In: Ribbens McCarthy, Jane; Hooper, Carol-Ann and Gillies, Val eds. Family Troubles? Exploring Changes and Challenges in the Family Lives of Children and Young People (pp. 199-208)
ISBN : 9781447304432 | Publisher : The Policy Press | Published : Bristol
Migrant Mothers Transmitting and Transforming Ethnic Identities (2011-06)
Erel, U.
In: Bertram, Hans and Ehlert, Nancy eds. Familie, Bindung und Care (pp. 321-328)
ISBN : 9783866493919 | Publisher : Budrich
On the depoliticisation of intersectionality talk: conceptualising multiple oppressions in critical sexuality studies (2010-11-24)
Erel , Umut; Haritaworn, Jin; Rodríguez , Encarnación Gutiérrez and Klesse, Christian
In: Taylor, Yvette; Hines, Sally and Casey, Mark E. eds. Theorizing Intersectionality and Sexuality (pp. 56-77)
ISBN : 978-0-230-22930-3 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke
Migrant women challenging stereotypical views on femininities and family (2010)
Erel, Umut
In: Gill, Ros and Scharff, Christina eds. New Femininities: Postfeminism, Neoliberalism and Subjectivity
ISBN : 9780230223349 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Basingstoke, UK
On the depoliticisation of intersectionality talk: Conceptualising multiple oppressions in critical sexuality studies (2008)
Erel, Umut; Haritaworn, Jin; Rodríguez, Encarnación Gutiérrez and Klesse, Christian
In: Kuntsman, Adi and Esperanza, Miyake eds. Out of place: Interrogating silences in queerness/raciality (pp. 265-292)
ISBN : 978-0-9553586-4-7 | Publisher : Raw Nerve Book | Published : New York
Transnationale Migration, intime Beziehungen und BürgerInnenrechte (2007)
Erel, Umut
In: Hartmann, Jutta; Klesse, Christian; Wagenknecht, Peter; Fritzsche, Bettina and Hackmann, Kristina eds. Heteronormativität. Empirische Studien zu Geschlecht, Sexualität und Macht - eine Einführung (pp. 251-267)
ISBN : 978-3-531-14611-9 | Publisher : Vs Verlag
Intersektionalität oder Simultaneität?! - Zur Verschränkung und Gleichzeitigkeit mehrfacher Machtverhältnisse - Eine Einführung (2007)
Erel, Umut; Haritaworn, Jinthana; Rodríguez, Encarnación Gutiérrez and Klesse, Christian
In: Hartmann, Jutta; Klesse, Christian; Wagenknecht, Peter; Fritzsche, Bettina and Hackmann, Kristina eds. Heteronormativität. Empirische Studien zu Geschlecht, Sexualität und Macht - eine Einführung (pp. 239-250)
ISBN : 978-3-531-14611-9 | Publisher : Vs Verlag
Migrantinnen zwischen Anerkennung und Abqualifikation (Migrant Women between Recognition and De-skilling) (2004)
Erel, Umut
In: Steyerl, Hito and Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación eds. Spricht die Subalterne deutsch? Migration und postkoloniale Kritik (Does the subaltern speak German? Migration and postcolonial criticism) (pp. 108-128)
ISBN : 9783897714250 | Publisher : Unrast Verlag | Published : Münster, Germany
Geschlecht, migration und bürgerschaft (Gender, migration and citizenship) (2004)
Erel, Umut
In: Roß, Bettina ed. Migration, Geschlecht und Staatsbuergerschaft: Perspektiven für eine antirassistische und feministische Politik und Politikwissenschaft (Migration, Gender and citizenship: Prospects for an anti-racist and feminist politics and political science). Politik und Geschlecht (16) (pp. 179-188)
ISBN : 9783810040787 | Publisher : VS Verlag/GWV Fachverlage GmbH (Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften) | Published : Wiesbaden, Germany
Paradigmen Kultureller Differenz und Hybriditaet (2004)
Erel, Umut
In: Sökefeld, Martin ed. Jenseits des Paradigmas kultureller Differenz: Neue Perspektiven auf Einwanderer aus der Türkei. Kultur und soziale praxis (pp. 35-51)
ISBN : 9783899422290 | Publisher : Transcript Verlag | Published : Bielefeld, Germany
Die Kraft der Schwachen? Soziales Kapital und Migration (2004)
Erel, Umut
In: Castro del Mar, Maria and Clayton, Dmitria eds. Migration, Gender, Arbeitsmarkt. Neue Beiträge zu Frauen und Globalisierung Konigsstein (pp. 154-185)
ISBN : 3897411261 | Publisher : Ulrike Helmer Verlag | Published : Sulzbach/Taunus
Migrant Capital: Networks, Identities and Strategies (2015-03-01)
Ryan, Louise; Erel, Umut and D'Angelo, Alessio eds.
Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship
ISBN : 9781137348791 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Houndmills