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Irene Skovgaard-Smith

Irene Skovgaard-Smith is a social anthropologist and lecturer at University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK. Her research focuses on identity, belonging, othering and cosmopolitanism in the context of transnational life. Her work has appeared in journals such as Human Relations, Critique of Anthropology, European Journal of International Management, Social & Cultural Geography, Organization and in books from Palgrave Macmillan and Information Age Publishing as well as The Conversation.

Current research project: Transnational life and work in pandemic times
The study focuses on the lived experience of transnational people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic transformed our globally interconnected world almost overnight as immobility was enforced, striking at the heart of transnational life. After a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions where national priorities and borders have been strongly reaffirmed, the aim is to investigate the particular impact of this disruption on an overlooked group of people, namely those who live abroad and whose lives are transnational (internationals/expats/global workers/migrants).


  • 2020–present
    Lecturer, University of East Anglia
  • 2013–2020
    Senior lecturer, Anglia Ruskin University
  • 2009–2012
    Adjunct assistant professor, VU University Amsterdam


  • 2008 
    Copenhagen Business School, PhD
  • 2004 
    University of Copenhagen, BA, MSc Social Anthropology


  • 2019
    Book review: Cosmopolitanism and Place, Social & Cultural Geography
  • 2019
    Book review: Universities and the occult rituals of the corporate world. Higher education and the metaphorical parallels with myth and magic., Organization
  • 2019
    The Other side of ‘us’: Alterity construction and identification work in the context of planned change., Human Relations
  • 2018
    Attribution and contestation: Relations between elites and other social groups, Critique of Anthropology
  • 2017
    Imagining 'non-nationality': Cosmopolitanism as a source of identity and belonging, Human Relations
  • 2014
    When West meets East: The case of a Scandinavian consulting firm's expansion into India, European Journal of International Management
  • 2013
    Management Consultants at work with clients: Maintainance and contestation of elite status, The Anthropology of Elites: Power, culture and the complexities of distinction

Professional Memberships

  • European Group of Organization Studies
  • European Sociological Association