Emma Söderman

Senior lecturer
Department of Social Work Faculty of Social Sciences
Hus Radix, Kalmar
Save contact

My academic background is multidisciplinary with a bachelor’s in human rights studies and a master’s degree in global political studies. During my studies, I was involved in mobilisations for migrant rights, the right to asylum, and improving conditions for people seeking refuge in Sweden. My interest in these issues has since guided my involvement both inside and outside academia. Since 2005/2006, I have been active in organisations working for and with people in the asylum process, and my research has also investigated conditions in the everyday lives of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, with a specific focus on different forms of mobilisations for migrants' rights.


I have previously taught at Malmö University on the Human Rights Studies programme, as well as on the Social Work programme. During my time at Lund University, where I worked at the School of Social Work (2012–2022), I taught on the social work programme at undergraduate and graduate level. My teaching focused on migration and social work, irregular migration, and social policy and migration. Currently, I teach on the social work programme semester four, as well as semester six where I supervise student projects, and on the master's course in critical social work. Regardless of the subject in focus, I view teaching situations as something we teachers do together with students, where it is important to make visible and draw on the knowledge and experiences that exist in the classroom.


I defended my thesis Resistance through Acting Ambivalent Practices of the No Border Musical in 2019. No Border Musical was a collaboration over two years (2011–2013) between the voluntary organisation Asylgruppen in Malmö, the independent theatre group Teater InterAkt, and young people with experience of living as undocumented migrants in Sweden. Through participatory ethnography – where I participated as a researcher and as a member of the theatre group with all that entailed in terms of creating the script, performing on stage, and all kinds of practical tasks – I explored the musical as a site for new forms of communities and resistance to migration control. No Border Musical created a context where inequalities and different experiences of living without a residence permit in Sweden could be made visible and discussed. Inequalities cannot be "solved" through theatre or asylum activism, but No Border Musical created a space where these inequalities could be challenged. In this thesis, I demonstrate the complexities and tensions of this work, and analyse and reflect on the difficulties and potentials of investigating processes that I have been a part of as a researcher.

After my PhD, I have continued to be interested in issues related to migrants' rights, focusing on experiences of the asylum process in Sweden, and on mobilisations for migrants' rights. Through Asylkommissionen (Commission for the Review of Legislation, Law Enforcement and Rule of Law for People Seeking Asylum in Sweden in the Period 2015-2017, https://liu.se/forskning/asylkommissionen ), I participate in a collaboration between researchers, professionals, and volunteers, including people with own experiences of the asylum process, with the aim to critically review and analyse the rapid changes that have taken place in the asylum field in Sweden since 2015/2016. I am also interested in postcolonial and feminist theories and am involved in contexts both within and outside academia regarding migration at the intersection of art and theatre.


I am part of the following research networks/projects:

At the Department of Social Work, Linnaeus University:

Social Work and Migration: https://lnu.se/en/research/searchresearch/social-work-and-migration/


National Network for Social Work and Migration.


Global-ANSWER: Global social work and human mobility: comparative studies on local government and good social work practices in the Euro-Mediterranean region.


Article in journal (Refereed)

Chapter in book (Other academic)