Sophie Andreetta appointed FNRS Research associate at the University of Liège


Sophie Andreetta, a Doctor of Anthropology and researcher at the Social and Cultural Anthropology Laboratory - (IRSS / Faculty of Social Science) at the University of Liège, has been awarded a research mandate by the FNRS (the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research) to continue her research into the relationship between (non)citizens, law and the State.   


ophie Andreetta's research focuses on (non)citizens relationship with the law and the State (and its institutions) in contemporary societies. She is particularly interested in how laws can be used as a resource by a range of actors, including bureaucrats, legal professionals, citizens and migrants.

"I have tackled these issues in two main contexts: firstly in West Africa, during my thesis and one of my postdocs, and secondly, in Belgium. My doctoral research focused on the implementation of family law in Benin. I analysed how women in particular, resorted to recent laws promoting equality to negotiate access to property in their families. I then worked on the daily practices of lawyers in Benin and Ghana, to ask how, through the cases they defend, they can further or help impede the rule of law in these countries". At the Max Planck Institute (Germany), Sophie Andreetta was interested in the practical application of the principle of "human dignity" to illegal migrants, in the Belgian context. "I tried to understand the meaning that both public administrations and the courts gave this principle. This allowed me to explore the place of emotions, conflicting loyalties and disputes in the work of civil servants. These elements sparked my interest in the interactions between bureaucracies and the courts during public policy implementation".

In 2022, FEDASIL, the federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers, was condemned more than 4,000 times by the courts. Thanks to her position as an FNRS Research associate, Sophie Andreetta will be able to analyse the role of law and courts in implementing migration policies. "I will be studying how and why migrants go to court, how judges decide on their claims and what kind of impact these decisions may have on the practices of civil servants". At a time when there is increasing talk of a decline in democratic values in many parts of the world, she is passionate about how fundamental rights - particularly those of vulnerable people - are negotiated through concrete interactions between various categories of 'ordinary' actors.

About Sophie Andreetta

After completing a Master's degree in Anthropology at the University of Liège, Sophie Andreetta studied at City University London, where she obtained a Master's degree in International Politics and Human Rights. She then returned to ULiège, where she was awarded an FNRS fellowship to complete a thesis at the Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Culturelle et Sociale (LASC) in the Faculty of Social Sciences. In 2017, she was hired by the Department of Law and Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Germany) for her first post-doctorate. She then returned to Liège as an FNRS research fellow at the Social and Cultural Anthropology Laboratory (LASC), where she will become a Research associate from October 2023.


Sophie Andreetta

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