Doctoral researcher
Spoken languages
German, French, English, Dutch, Spanish
Areas of expertise
  • Mobility
  • International migration
  • Gender, Sexuality and Intimacy
Geographical Region of Expertise
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Caribbean



Lene Swetzer is a research assistant within the "Gangs, Gangsters and Ganglands: Towards a Global Comparative Ethnography project, a joint project between the CCDP and the Graduate Institute’s Anthropology and Sociology (ANSO) Department led by Prof. Dr. Dennis Rodgers. Lene is also a PhD candidate at the ANSO Department within the “Ganglands” sub-project. Looking at the Nicaraguan migrant community in Costa Rica, her research focuses on the impact of political violence and state repression on mobility in and between territories of violence.

Lene holds a BSc in Cultural Anthropology and a MA in Criminology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. In the framework of her Bachelor programme she engaged in ethnographic fieldwork with Colombian adolescent forced migrants in Costa Rica on transnationalism and the feeling of home and belonging. During her Master’s programme she conducted fieldwork in the Netherlands with Dutch, migrant and refugee transwomen from Latin America & The Caribbean, comparing their experiences with the Dutch transition-related healthcare system. Moreover, she participated in research projects on sex work in 2013/2014, and the “refugee crisis” in 2016, both within the Criminology Department of Utrecht University.

Between 2014 and 2016, Lene also worked with various human rights NGOs working with human rights defenders in The Netherlands and Switzerland. In October 2016 she did a traineeship in the Anti-Discrimination Unit of the European Commission in Brussels, where she later worked as Policy Assistant on LGBTI-equality. In 2018 she moved back to The Netherlands where she worked as junior lecturer in Criminology at Utrecht University before joining the Graduate Institute in 2019.