Research project

Research prize 2022
for his career devoted to the anthropology of displacement and his work on the conditions and places of exile

Michel Agier is a French ethnologist and anthropologist, Director of Research at the Institut de recherche pour le développement, Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), and head of the Policy Department at the Institut Convergences Migrations. His research focuses on the relationships between human globalization, the conditions and places of exile, and the formation of new urban contexts. Michel Agier is involved in associations and fights for the opening of borders to migrants. Director of the Centre d’Études Africaines (UMR 194 EHESS-IRD) from 2004 to 2010, he joined the Institut interdisciplinaire d’anthropologie du contemporain (IIAC) in 2013. He was coordinator of the ASILES program (ANR) from 2005 to 2009. Since 2013, he has headed the “Paysage Global de Camps” project within the ANR’s MobGlob program. In 2012-2013, Michel Agier and a team of doctoral and post-doctoral students working with him set up the Atelier d’Anthropologie Contemporaine (LAC), now part of the IIAC.

Michel Agier has conducted research in major cities in Africa and Latin America: Lomé, Douala, Salvador de Bahia, Cali. His investigations took place in marginal, subaltern or precarious neighborhoods and social environments. They have focused on social mobilities, cultural, ethnic and racial assignments and/or mobilizations, with particular attention paid to ritual situations (carnivals, religious festivals). Since 2000, his teaching and research have focused on the anthropology of urban movements and logics. His investigations have focused on the spaces where displaced people, refugees and exiles gather, first in Colombia, then in Black Africa: urban peripheries hosting internally displaced persons, refugee and displaced persons camps, transit zones. More recently, the focus has shifted to the transit, passage and settlement of migrants and refugees between Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Michel Agier was elected to the Board of Directors of MSF (Doctors Without Borders, France section) from 2004 to 2010. From this experience, and from his investigations in refugee camps, he draws the material for a vast critical anthropology of “humanitarian government”. A member of the Migreurop network (43 associations and 37 individual members in 16 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Europe) since 2003, he contributes to the Migreurop Atlas.



The French Red Cross Foundation’s Research Prizes are designed to promote scientific work that has already been completed, or innovative lines of thought devoted to humanitarian and social issues, in both the North and South. Open to all disciplines of the human and social sciences and to all nationalities, they reward scientific excellence and human commitment, promoting scientific knowledge, ethical reflection and social innovation to advance action in the service of the most vulnerable.