Ruben Andersson is an anthropologist working on migration, borders and security with a focus on the West African Sahel and southern Europe. His book Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine migration and the business of bordering Europe (University of California Press 2014), an ethnographic account of Europe’s efforts to halt irregular migration, accompanies border agencies, aid organisations and migrants along the Spanish-African borders. The book argues that the ‘fight against irregular migration’, rather than curtailing movement, has led to more distress and drama at the borders, which in turns has fuelled a self-reinforcing industry of controls.
Ruben's latest monograph is No Go World: How fear is redrawing our maps and infecting our politics (University of California Press 2019). This book builds on Ruben's more recent research, financed by the AXA Research Fund, and looks comparatively at remote-controlled interventions and the selective withdrawal of international actors from global 'crisis zones'. Taking as its starting point the conflict in Mali, West Africa, it explores how the mapping of danger, the perception of risk and the politics of fear have all contributed to framing and fuelling fraught security, aid and border interventions in the Sahel as well as in other settings such as Somalia, Libya and Afghanistan today.
Prior to joining ODID, Ruben worked at the London School of Economics, where he completed his PhD in 2013. Ruben is also an associated researcher at Stockholm University’s Department of Social Anthropology. Before joining academia, Ruben worked in the media and he writes regularly for non-academic audiences.