Alessandro Monsutti profil

Alessandro MONSUTTI

FACULTY ASSOCIATE, Global Migration Centre
FACULTY ASSOCIATE, Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy
Spoken languages
English, French, Italian, Persian
Areas of expertise
  • Agriculture, land and rural development
  • Armed conflicts, violence
  • Development, cooperation and aid policies
  • Humanitarian action, intervention
  • Immigrants, refugees, diasporas
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Middle East
  • South Asia



PhD in social anthropology, University of Neuchâtel (2002)

Trained as a social anthropologist, Alessandro Monsutti became a member of the faculty in 2010, after having taught at the Graduate Institute of Development Studies from 2003 to 2007. He has been Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (1999-2000) and Yale University (2008-2010), Grantee of the MacArthur Foundation (2004-2006), and Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna (2012) and Arizona State University (2014). He is also Research Associate at the Refugee Studies Centre (University of Oxford). In addition, he has worked as a consultant for several international and nongovernmental organisations such as UNHCR.

Alessandro Monsutti has conducted multi-sited research since the mid-1990s in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to study the modes of solidarity and cooperation mobilised in a situation of conflict and forced migration. He has subsequently broadened the geographical scope of his research to include members of the Afghan diaspora living in Western countries. This led him to analyse war and post-conflict reconstruction in the light of the social networks and economic strategies developed by refugees and migrants, and – more generally – to address theoretical and methodological issues related to globalisation.

Among his current research interests: the political economy of reconstruction in Afghanistan as an example of emerging forms of sovereignty and global governance; asylum seekers and refugees in Europe; migrants and non-migrants in urban neighbourhoods; the changing nature of borderlands in Europe and South Asia.




  • Destiny/Destination, Milano: emuse, with Carlo Vidoni, 2023.
  • Jang wa mosâferat: shabakahâ-ye ejtemâ‘i wa estrâtezhihâ-ye eqtesâdi-ye hazârahâ-ye afghânistân, Kabul: Nasl-e Naw, 2021 [Persian translation of Guerres et migrations].
  • Homo itinerans: Towards a Global Ethnography of Afghanistan, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2021. 
  • Homo itinerans: La planète des Afghans. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2018.
  • War and Migration: Social Networks and Economic Strategies of the Hazaras of Afghanistan. New York & London: Routledge (Middle East Studies: History, Politics, and Law), 2005 [translation of Guerres et migrations].
  • Guerres et migrations: réseaux sociaux et stratégies économiques des Hazaras d’Afghanistan. Neuchâtel: Institut d’ethnologie; Paris: Maison des sciences de l’homme (Recherches et travaux 17), 2004.

Edited Volumes and Journal Special Issues

  • Guerres civiles?, Monde commun: Des anthropologues dans la cité 8, edited with Franck Mermier, 2023. 
  • Migrazioni e educazione. La circolazione delle competenze: una sfida per lo sviluppo, Genève: Globethics (Fondazione Vittorino Chizzolini), edited with Stefania Gandolfi, 2021.
  • Symposium: Thomas Faist's The Transnationalized Social Question, Ethnic and Racial Studies 44(8), June 2021, p. 1365-1394.
  • Complicity and Antagonism: Anthropological Views of Geneva, Genève: Université de Genève, Sociograph no. 26, 2017, edited with Françoise Grange Omokaro, Philippe Gazagne and Sandro Cattacin.
  • Connivences et antagonismes: Enquête sociologique dans six rues de Genève, Genève: Université de Genève, Sociograph no. 19, 2015, edited with Maxime Felder, Sandro Cattacin, Loïc Pignolo, Patricia Naegeli.
  • Connivences et antagonismes en milieu urbain: Enquête sociologique dans six rues de Genève, Genève: Université de Genève, Sociopgraph no. 23, co-edited with Maxime Felder, Sandro Cattacin and Patricia Naegeli, forthcoming in 2016.
  • Connivences et antagonismes en milieu urbain: Regards anthropologiques sur Genève, Genève: Université de Genève, Sociopgraph no. 24, co-edited with Françoise Grange, Philippe Gazagne and Sandro Cattacin, forthcoming in 2016.
  • Les nouvelles arènes du politique: organisations internationales et non gouvernementales, fondations, think tanks. Tsantsa: Revue de la Société suisse d’ethnologie 14, guest editor with Boris-Mathieu Pétric, 2009.
  • Migration et développement, un mariage arrangé / Migration und Entwicklung: eine Zweckallianz. Genève: Annuaire suisse de politique de développement (vol. 28/2), edited with Denise Efionayi-Mäder, Gérard Perroulaz, and Catherine Schümperli Younossian, 2008.
  • Le monde turco-iranien en question, Paris: Karthala; Genève: IUED (DéveloppementS), edited with Mohammad-Reza Djalili and Anna Neubauer, 2008.
  • Entre ordre et subversion: logiques plurielles, alternatives, écarts, paradoxes. Paris: Karthala; Genève: IUED (DéveloppementS), edited with Suzanne Chappaz-Wirthner and Olivier Schinz, 2007.
  • The Other Shiites: From the Mediterranean to Central Asia. Berlin, New York, Oxford, etc.: Peter Lang (Worlds of Islam), edited with Silvia Naef and Farian Sabahi, 2007.

Selected articles

  • "Suivre les personnes, suivre les conflits: Quelques réflexions ethnographiques à partir d’un terrain afghan", Guerres civiles, Monde commun 8, 2023, p. 160-183.
  • "'To Everyone, Homeland is Kashmir': Cultural Conceptions of Migration, Wellbeing, Adulthood and Future among Young Afghans in Europe", in: Elaine Chase, Nando Sigona, Dawn Chatty (eds), Becoming Adult on the Move: Migration Journeys, Encounters and Life Transitions, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023, p. 23-43, with Khadija Abbasi.
  • "From Muhājir to Āwāra: Figures of Migration and Exile Among Afghans", in: S Irudaya Rajan (ed.), Migration in South Asia: IMISCOE Regional Reader, Cham: Springer, 2023, p. 187-200, with Khadija Abbasi.
  • "Waiting Games: Taming Chance among Afghans in Greece", Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies 24(3), 2022, p. 460-478, with Sarah Bittel.
  • "La migrazione come principio di vita: dalla teoria alla pratica", in: Stefania Gandolfi & Alessandro Monsutti (a cura), Migrazioni e educazione. La circolazione delle competenze: una sfida per lo sviluppo, Genève: Globethics (Fondazione Vittorino Chizzolini), 2021, p. 15-25.
  • "Thomas Faist and the Transnationalized Social Question2, Ethnic and Racial Studies 44(8), June 2021, p. 1365-1368.
  • "Young Afghans at the Doorsteps of Europe: The Difficult Art of Being a Successful Migrant", Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 47(3), 2021, p. 519-535, with Giulia Scalettaris and Antonio Donini. 
  • "Mobility as a Political Act", Ethnic and Racial Studies 41(3), February 2018, p. 448-455. 
  • "Afghanistan as a Critical Lens in Current Challenges for Anthropology and Sociology", in: Ravi Kumar, Dev Nath Pathak, Sasanka Perera (eds), Sociology and Social Anthropology in South Asia, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chennai, etc.: Orient BlackSwan, 2018, p. 305-325, with Nick Miszak.
  • “Afghanistan”, in Gildas Simon (dir), Dictionnaire des migrations internationales: Approche géohistorique, Paris: Armand Colin, 2015, p. 666-672.
  • “Letter to a Father: Bashfulness and Emotion in the Midst of Migration”, “Afghanistan 2011: an Archipelago of Sovereignties”, in Micheline Centlivres-Demont (ed), Afghanistan: Identity, Society and Politics since 1980, London: I.B. Tauris, 2015, p. 164-166, 265-267.
  • “Landscapes of Power: Local Struggles and National Stakes at the Rural-Urban Fringe of Kabul, Afghanistan”, Journal of Peasant Studies 41(2), 2014, p. 183-198, with Nick Miszak.
  • “The Transnational Political Economy of Civil War in Afghanistan”, in: Aparna Sundar & Nandini Sundar (eds), Civil Wars in South Asia: State, Sovereignty, Development, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, etc.: Sage, p. 96-116.
  • “Forced Migration in Broader Central Asia”, in Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long and Nando Sigona (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, p. 599-612, avec Bayram Balci. 
  • “Anthropologizing Afghanistan: Colonial and Postcolonial Encounters”, Annual Review of Anthropology 42, 2013, p. 269-285.
  • “La terre du pouvoir, le pouvoir de la terre: conflits fonciers et jeux politiques en Afghanistan”, Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée 133, 2013, p. 151-168 [with Nick Miszak].
  • “Trust, Friendship and Transversal Ties of Cooperation among Afghans”, in: Conrad Schetter (ed), Local Politics in Afghanistan: A Century of Intervention in Social Order, London: Hurst, 2012, p. 147-162.
  • “Fuzzy Sovereignty: Rural Reconstruction in Afghanistan, between Democracy Promotion and Power Games”, Comparative Studies in Society and History 54(3), July 2012, p. 563-591.
  • “Au-delà de l’ethnicité et de la parenté en Afghanistan: approche ethnographique des liens transversaux de coopération”, Cahiers d’Asie centrale 19-20, 2011, p. 155-173.
  • “The Transnational Turn in Migration Studies and the Afghan Social Networks”, in: Dawn Chatty & Bill Finlayson (eds), Dispossession and Displacement in the Middle East, London: Oxford University Press (British Academy Occasional Papers), 2010, p. 45-67.
  • “The Contribution of Migration Studies and Transnationalism to the Anthropological Debate: A Critical Perspective”, in: Cédric Aubert, Mohamed Kamel Doraï (eds), Migration in a Globlised World: New Research Issues and Prospects, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press (IMISCOE Research), 2010, p. 107-125.
  • “Food and Identity among Young Afghan Refugees and Migrants in Iran”, in: Dawn Chatty (ed), Deterritorialized Youth: Sahrawi and Afghan Refugees at the Margins of the Middle East, New York, Oxford: Berghahn, 2010, p. 213-247.
  • “Itinérances transnationales: un éclairage sur les réseaux migratoires afghans”, Critique internationale 44, 2009, p. 83-104.
  • “Migration et développement: une histoire de brouilles et de retrouvailles” / “Migration und Entwicklung: eine Debatte zwischen Zwist und Annäherung”, in: Denise Efionayi-Mäder, Alessandro Monsutti, Gérard Perroulaz, Catherine Schümperli Younossian (dir), Migration et développement, un mariage arrangé / Migration und Entwicklung: eine Zweckallianz, Genève: Institut de hautes études internationales et du développement, Annuaire suisse de politique de développement (vol. 28/2), 2008, p. 23-42 / p. 25-46.
  • “The Impact of War on Social, Political and Economic Organisation in Southern Hazarajat”, in: Mohammad-Reza Djalili, Alessandro Monsutti, Anna Neubauer (dir), Le monde turco-iranien en question, Paris: Karthala; Genève: IUED (DéveloppementS), 2008, p. 195-209.
  • “Afghan Migratory Strategies and the Three Solutions to the Refugee Problem”, Refugee Survey Quarterly 27(1), 2008, p. 58-73.
  • “Le baiser de l’ethnographe: entre don de soi et usage de l’autre sur le terrain”, in: Suzanne Chappaz-Wirthner, Alessandro Monsutti, Olivier Schinz (éds), Entre ordre et subversion: logiques plurielles, alternatives, écarts, paradoxes, Paris: Karthala; Genève: IUED (DéveloppementS), 2007, p. 23-35.
  • “Image of the Self, Image of the Other: Social Organization and the Role of ‘Ashura’ among the Hazaras of Quetta (Pakistan)”, in: Alessandro Monsutti, Silvia Naef, Farian Sabahi (eds), The Other Shiites: From the Mediterranean to Central Asia, Bern, Berlin, etc.: Peter Lang, 2007, p. 173-191.
  • “Heurs et malheurs de l’islamisme chez les chiites d’Afghanistan: de la révolution sociale à la construction identitaire”, in: Sabrina Mervin (dir), Les mondes chiites et l’Iran, Paris: Karthala/IFPO, 2007, p. 43-60.
  • “Migration as a Rite of Passage: Young Afghans Building Masculinity and Adulthood in Iran”, Iranian Studies 40(2), 2007, p. 167-185.
  • “Au-delà de la figure du réfugié: la reproduction des liens sociaux en situation migratoire (le cas afghan)”, in: Aminah Mohammad-Arif et Jean Schmitz (dir), Figures d’Islam après le 11 septembre: Disciples et martyrs, réfugiés et migrants, Paris: Karthala, 2006, p. 227-256.
  • “Beyond the Boundaries: A Methodological Perspective on Afghan Migratory Networks in the Western Countries”, Tsantsa: Revue de la Société suisse d’ethnologie 10, 2005, p. 167-171.
  • Transnational Networks: Recognising a Regional Reality / Shabakahâ-ye farâmillati: shinâsâ’ye wâqi’yathâ-ye mantiqawi, Kabul: Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, April 2005, with Elca Stigter.
  • Des collines du Kurdistan aux hautes terres de Nouvelle-Guinée: Entretien avec Fredrik Barth”, 8, November 2005, [with Boris-Mathieu Pétric].
  • “En suivant les réseaux de Kaboul à New York: quelques réflexions méthodologiques sur la recherche ethnographiques parmi les migrants”, Ethnologies 27(1), 2005, p. 33-53.
  • “Cooperation, Remittances, and Kinship among the Hazaras”, Iranian Studies 37(2), 2004, p. 219-240.
  • “Hazâras: History” & “Hazâras: Ethnography and Social Organization”, in: Ehsan Yarshater (ed), Encyclopædia Iranica XII(1), 2003, p. 81-85 & 85-90.
  • “Territoires, flux et représentations de l'exil afghan: le cas des Hazaras et des Kaboulis”, A Contrario 1(1), 2003, p. 61-78, with Tina Gehrig.
  • “Afghanistan”, in: Melvin Ember, Carol R. Ember (eds), Countries and Their Cultures, New York: Macmillan Reference USA, vol. 1, 2001, p. 1-11.
  • “Guerre et ethnicité en Afghanistan”, Tsantsa: Revue de la Société suisse d’ethnologie 4, 1999, p. 63-73.





  • Member of the International Scientific Advisory Board, Vienna Doctoral School of Social Sciences, University of Vienna (2021-).
  • Swiss Network for International Studies, research grant for a project entitled Time to Look at Girls: Adolescent Girls Migration and Development, co-coordinator; coordinator: Katarzyna Grabska, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (2013-2016).
  • Swiss National Science Foundation, research grant for a project entitled Cohabitation, connivences et antagonismes en situation de “nouvelles” mixités urbaines, main applicant, co-applicant: Sandro Cattacin, University of Geneva (2013-2016).
  • Swiss National Science Foundation, research grant for a project entitled Ethnic differentiation, interethnic relations and conflict in Central Asia: The case of the Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, co-applicant, main applicant: Peter Finke, University of Zurich (2013-2016).
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, research mandate for a project entitled Review of the Protection Situation of Afghan Asylum-Seekers and Refugees in Europe, research coordinator (2014-2015).
  • Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Centre Coopération & Dévelopement (CODEV), research grant for a project entitled New Changes in Border Policy and Border Identities: A Case Study of the Indo-Bangladesh Border Enclaves, co-applicant; main applicant: Shalini Randeria, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (2015-2016).
  • Swiss National Science Foundation, International Exploratory Workshop entitled The Afghan crisis in perspective: Understanding the vectors of social change, main applicant (2013).
  • Swiss National Science Foundation, research grant for a project entitled Diasporas et conflits: pratiques transnationales et stratégies socio-économiques de la jeunesse sri-lankaise en Europe, with Philippe Gazagne (2008-2010).
  • South Asian Studies Council, MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale University, New Haven, research associate and lecturer (2009-2010).
  • Program in Agrarian Studies, Yale University, New Haven, research fellow (2008-2009).
  • Agence nationale de la recherche, Paris, research grant for a project entitled Experts, médiateurs et courtiers de la bonne gouvernance: étude comparative des pratiques transnationales de démocratisation, with Laëtitia Atlani-Duault, Romain Bertrand, Giorgio Blundo, Dejan Dimitrijevic, Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, Boris Pétric, David Recondo (2007-2009).
  • MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, research and writing grant for a project entitled Beyond the boundaries: Hazara migratory networks from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran towards the Western countries (2004-2006).
  • Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), Kabul, research adviser for a project entitled (Trans)national networks and sustainable reintegration: an anthropological study of returnee communities in Afghanistan (2004-2006).
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Tsantsa, Swiss Ethnological Society (2003-2008).
  • Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, research associate for a project entitled Children and adolescents in Sahrawi and Afghani refugee households in Algeria and Iran: living with the effects of prolonged conflict and forced migration (2003-2004).
  • Member of the Editorial Board of (2000-2008).
  • School of Oriental and African Studies, London, visiting scholar at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology (1999-2000).
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, grant for a field research in Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan (1996).
  • Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs (Division of Human Rights), grant for a research on Afghan refugees (1995.)
Alessandro MONSUTTI