IMISCOE Web Directory - Lea Müller-Funk
Lea Müller-Funk is currently a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam and Research Associate at the Centre Internationale des Recherches Internationales (CERI), Sciences Po Paris. Her core research interests include migration, transnational politics, and media in the contemporary Arab world.
Between 2015 and 2016, Lea was an OxPo post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. Between 2011 and 2015, she was employed as a PhD Researcher and University Assistant at the Institute for Near Eastern Studies at Vienna University. Her interdisciplinary PhD thesis (summa cum laude) focused on Egyptian migrant activism in Paris and Vienna during and after the Arab Uprisings. The PhD dissertation received the Award of Excellence 2016 from the Austrian Ministry of Science, Research & Economy.
She attended Vienna University (Political Science and Arabic and Islamic Studies, 2005-2010), the Institut National des Langues et Cultures Orientales in Paris (2007/2008), and Sciences Po Paris (Comparative Politics / Middle East and Muslim World, 2010). Lea held research affiliations to the American University Beirut (2009) and the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (2012). Before her PhD, Lea Müller-Funk was a trainee at the Department of the European Council and the Council of the European Union at the Austrian Foreign Ministry (2010-2011).
The project SYRMAGINE departs from the assumption that refugees’ attempts to flee to a certain country are usually preceded by imaginations about possible destination countries. These imaginations not only contribute to refugees’ decisions where to seek asylum but also have an effect on how refugees experience realities when they eventually arrive in the destination country. The project focusses on how Europe is imagined by Syrian refugees settling in Syria’s neighbouring countries and examines how refugees’ imaginations affect their attitudes to seek – or not to seek – asylum in European countries. While the project focuses on imaginations of Europe, it also includes the perceptions of Syrians who do not intend to migrate further and the imaginations of other possible destination countries and a possible return to Syria in comparison. SYRMAGINE aims at contributing to the academic literature on the active role of aspirations and imaginations in migration decision-making and on causes of forced migration (Castles 2003) by (1) investigating the relation between refugees’ imaginations and decision-making; and by studying how the present country of residence compares to Europe (and other countries) as a destination choice; 2) by examining how refugees inform themselves about social and political realities in possible destination countries. The project adopts an interdisciplinary mixed-method approach combining individual surveys, semi-directive interviews and an online ethnography in two recipient and ‘transit’ countries of Syrian refugees in the Middle East.