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Christian Ungruhe

Research fellow, University of Passau

Dr Christian Ungruhe is a trained social anthropologist working in the fields of migration, youth, work and sport in West Africa and Northern and Central Europe.

He has joined the international research consortium ‘Migration and Translocality in West Africa’ (MiTra-WA), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in September 2021. In his work, he studies interlinkages and dynamics between migrants’ places of origin and destination to better understand the drivers, practices, structures and processes of rural-urban and cross-border migration and their interconnected impacts for rural and urban settings in West Africa. Empirically, he pursues a longitudinal study on young women’s migration practices from northern Ghana and their impact on gender relations and women’s social and economic participation and in the region.

Between 2019 and 2021, he was a Marie Curie fellow at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) at Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Netherlands). In his project ‘Mobile Life Worlds. Trajectories of West African football migrants en route and in South-East Asia’ he followed football players who pursuit professional contracts in the Global South. Undertaking a longitudinal ethnographic approach, he particularly worked with players whom he had accompanied since 2010 and looked at the processes of their social, spatial and everyday mobilities and subjectivities on the road and in the making, with an emphasis on how the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted on their migration projects.

He has previously worked at Aarhus University (Denmark) in a postdoc project on after career life course trajectories of West African footballers in Northern Europe (2015-2019). His work particularly course trajectories of West African footballers in Northern Europe (2015-2019). His work particularly dealt with players’ ambivalent experiences of precarity and their communication in transnational settings (e.g. with kin and friends at home).

In 2015 he completed his PhD project at Bayreuth University (Germany) in which he dealt with the relationship between internal migration practices and the negotiations of life phases among young people in Ghana. Beside this, he was working in a project on the trajectories of West African players to Europe and their role in communicating and reinforcing images and racial stereotypes about Black people in Germany.


  • –present
    Research fellow, Erasmus University Rotterdam