Susanne Bygnes




Research groups


Key words: Political sociology, social movements, protest movements, diversity, economic-crisis, refugee-crisis, social mobilisation, high-skilled migrants, political migration

Susanne Bygnes is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bergen in Norway. Her main research topics include international migration and local perspectives on diversity, political sociology and social movements. Her recent work use 'crisis' as point of departure to understand social change through new migratory patterns and local community reactions to sudden increase in diversity. Since 2013 she has worked with two particular cases of human mobility in the wake of the European financial crisis and the subsequent 'refugee crisis' to understand how crisis shape both migrants' and 'recieving communities' imaginations, experiences and reactions. Methodologically she draws mainly on in-depth qualitative interviews, but also works with ethnography and quantitative panel data.


Current prosjects and networks:

Emerging Russian Diasporas and Anti-war Movements (ERDAM). Zois, Berlin. Funded by German Foundation for Peace Studies. (PIs: Tsypylma Darieva and Tatiana Golova)

Russian migrants and the anti-war movement in Europe (RAW) Funded by the University of Bergen (2022-2025) (PI: S. Bygnes)

This pilot project was initiated in September 2022. It explores the experiences and activities of Russian migrants in Europe who have mobilized for peace after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Based on observations and in-depth interviews, the project studies the Russian anti-war movement abroad focusing initially on two central (Berlin and Vilnius) and two more peripherical (Barcelona and Oslo) sites. In Berlin and Vilnius, mobilization for democracy in Russia has diversified and/or intensified in the wake of the invasion, while in Barcelona and Oslo the full-scale invasion has strengthened the emergence of Russian migrants mobilizing for a democratic development. The central research questions to be addressed by this project are: Who are the Russians migrants who mobilize against the war and for a democratic development in Russia? What motivates and restricts their involvement? Does the political mobilization of Russian migrants against war that started in 2022 have bearings on the potential for building a stronger pro-democratic community of Russian migrants in Europe?

Published and upcoming output from the RAW-project:

Bygnes, S (2024) Krigsmotstand blant russiske migranter iNorge: Moralsk sjokk og kollektiv identitetResistance Against the War Among Russian Migrants in Norway:Moral Shock and Collective Identity. Tidsskrift for Samfunnsforskning 65(2):1-15.

Bygnes, S (forthcoming) Russians against the war: The (in-)visibility of Russian migrants' anti-war protest. Part of Special Issue on Russian Migrants' Activism, forthcoming in 2025.

Two masterstudents have constributed with reserach assistance and written their thesis as part of the RAW-project:

Joana Macutkevic "Establishing the boundaries: social interactions and dynamics between Russian-speaking minority and recent migrants from Russia in the Lithuanian context" (3. june 2024) University of Bergen

Tatiana Olsen (title tba), 2024, University of Oslo


Previous projects

Bygnes was principal investigator for the project 'Imagining and Experiencing the Refugee crisis (IMEX)' (2017-2022).


Bygnes had visiting scholar status at Scoula Normale Superioire de Firenze (University of Pisa)  2018 and UC Berkeley 2012, Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona 2014 and Sussex University 2015.


Susanne Bygnes also dessiminates actively in a range of foras outside the academic realm, ranging from local upper secondary schools and senior universities to governmental and NGO stakeholders and national newpapers, radio and TV.   


Selected public communication:

2024, Interview, Russisk antikrigsrørsle i Europa (fra 30 min og 20 sek) NRK2 TV Nyheter, 23. februar

2022, Webinar for all local offices of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) presenting results from Imagining and Experiencing refugee crisis-project. January 2022

2022 Public Library tour. Public talks and discussions about the results from the Imagining and Experiencing refugee crisis-project in public libraries in Western Norway. January 2022

2021 Information Film Activism Across Time and Place: Syrians’ activist trajectories in Berlin and Oslo. December 2021

Radio Interview, EKKO, NRK P2 (27.11.2020) Life on hold at the asylum seeker center

Radio interview, Nyhetsmorgen NRK P2 (20.05.2019) and interview at (21.05.2019) about national and local level perceptions about refugee arrivals and integration.

Interview Interview BT Junior (4.10.2017)

Interview NRK Nyhetsmorgen (2.10.2017)

Interview NRK Ytring (1.10.2017)

Interview Dagsnytt 18 (18.06.2017) 

Interview TV-documentary Mottaket NRK Nett-TV (publisert 26.07.2016)

Invited op-ed kommentarartikkel, BT (21.07.2016)

Interview, Dagsnytt 18 (21.12.15)

Interview, Ytring NRK P2 (20.12.15)

Interview, TV2 Nyhetkanalen (20.12.15)

Interview, NTB, gjengitt i Nettavisen (20.12.15)

Interview, Aftenposten (16.12.15)

Interview, EKKO NRK P2 (7.12.15)

Op-ed BT "Vil forlate Synkende skip" (6.10.15)

"Disse fem flokene må katalanerne løse", Interview Aftenposten (28.09.15)

Interview  Bergensavisen 14.03.15

Myten om fattige Spanjoler i Norge. Interview, Her og Nå NRK P1 17. 04.13

Op-ed Har vi multikulturalisme? VG 7. mai 2012 s. 28-29



Course development and teaching 

Susanne Bygnes has been responsible for developing and teaching courses at the undergraduate level and teach/supervise at the graduate level and post-graduate level (Bergen Summer Research School). She is currently supervising two PhD-candidates (Amany Selim and Eli Melby) who take sociological appraoches to political participation and social movements. She has supervised many MA-students, two are integrated into the RAW-project Tatiana Olsen (UiO) and Joana Macutkevic and three have been integrated into the IMEX-project: Kristine Wenaas' MA-thesis on local reactions to a new asylum center (2017), Evelyn Holmøys' thesis on 'Refugees welcome to the Arctic' (2017) and Nikolai Skogre Borge's (2020) thesis on social mobilization and boundary work in the wake of the refugee crisis. She has also supervised MA-thesises on young migrants' transitions to adulthood and the importance of place, gender and education lever for idntity formation of children of immigrants in Norway.




University pedagogy 30 ECTS completed in 2019

Momentum- University of Bergen's traning program for young reserach leaders completed in 2018


Academic lecture
Academic article
Book review
Popular scientific lecture
Academic chapter/article/Conference paper
Doctoral dissertation
Programme management
Academic monograph

See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.


Bygnes, S (2024) Resistance against the war among Russian migrants in Norway: moral shock and collective identity/Krigsmotstand blant russiske migranter i Norge: moralsk sjokk og kollektiv identitet. Forthcoming in Tidsskrift for Samfunnsforskning 2, 24.

Bygnes, S (2022) Experiencing and resisting interwoven social bouncaries: the case of highly educated recent refugees in Norway. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

van Limept, I and Bygnes, S (2022) Mobility dynamics within the settlement phase of Syrian refugees in Norway and The Netherlands. Mobilities

Bygnes, S and Strømsø, M (2022) A Promise of Inclusion: On the Social Imaginary of Organised Encounters Between Locals and Refugees. Journal of Intercultural Studies

Strømsø, M and Bygnes, S (2021) Local responses to hostility to new asylum seeker centres in Norway. International Migration.

Bye, HH., Bygnes, S and Ivarsflaten, I (2021) The Local-National Gap in Intergroup Attitudes and Far-Right Underperformance in Local Elections. Frontiers in Political Science. Open access.

Bygnes, S (2021) Not All Syrian Doctors Become Taxi Drivers: Stagnation and Continuity Among Highly Educated Syrians in Norway. Int. Migration & Integration  Available Open Access

Bygnes, S (2020) A collective sigh of relief: Local reactions to the establishment of new asylum centers in Norway. Acta Sociologica

Bygnes, S. (2017) Welcome to Norway! Tidsskrift for Velferdsforskning 4 2017. Available Open Access

Bygnes, S. (2017) Are They Leaving Because of the Crisis? The Sociological Significance of Anomie as a Motivation for Migration. Sociology. doi: 10.1177/0038038515589300

Bygnes, S and Erdal, M (2017) Liquid Migration, grounded lives: Considerations about future mobility and settlement among Polish and Spanish migrants in Norway. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Available Open Access

Bygnes, S and Flipo, A (2016) Political Motivations for intra-European Migration. Acta Sociologica. Doi 10.117/0001699316659909. Available Open Access

Bygnes, S. (2015) Migrants of disillusion: European South-North Mobility in the wake of the crisis.//Mistillitens migrasjon: Europeisk sør-nord mobilitet i kjølvannet av krisa. Sosiologisk Tidsskrift nr 3 2015.

Bygnes, S (2014) Ad-hoc Multiculturalism: Prison staff approaches to cultural and religious diversity. In: Judicialization and Citizenship in the Welfare State. Sinding Aasen, H. etl al (eds). Edward Elgar Publishing.

Bygnes, S. (2013) Ambivalent Multiculturalism. Sociology, Volume 47, issue 1, pp. 126-141. Doi: 10.1177/0038038512448560

Bygnes, S. (2012) 'We are in Complete Agreement': The Diversity Issue, Disagreement and Change in The European Women's Lobby. Social Movement Studies. Doi:10.1080/14742837.2012.703831

Bygnes, S. (2012) Gender-equality as boundary: 'Gender-nation frames' in Norwegian EU campaign organizations. European Journal of Women's Studies 19(1): 7-22.

Bygnes, S. (2010) Making Equality Diverse? Merged Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination Measures in Norway NORA Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 18 (2): 88-104.

Bygnes, S. (2008) Interviewing People-oriented Elites. Eurosphere Working Paper Series. Online Working paper no. 10, 2008 (fulltekst pdf)


Other peer-reviewed publications:

Bygnes, S (2013) Diversity dilemmas – majority approaches to societal diversity in Norway and Europe. PhD-dissertation, University of Bergen ISBN: 9788230821909

Bygnes, S. (2008): Dorothy E. Smith. In: Kjønnsteori. Gyldendal Akademisk 2008

Bygnes, S. (2008): Questioning modernity and development. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller 2008 (112 pages, published MA-thesis)



Bygnes, S and Karlsen, M-A (2017) Krise og Kontinuitet i mottak av flyktninger i Norden. Tidsskrift for Velferdsforskning 4, 2017


Book review:

Bygnes, S "The Rule of Violence: Subjectivity, Memory and Government in Syria by Salwa Ismail," American Journal of Sociology 125, no. 5 (March 2020): 1423-1424.

Bygnes, S. Krimmigrasjon? den nye kontrollen av de fremmede., Nordic Journal of Migration Research 2015 5(3): 155-156


Russian migrants and the anti-war movement in Europe. (2022-) Pilot study (PI: Bygnes)

Imagining and Experiencing the 'Refugee Crisis' (IMEX). Research Council of Norway: 1 million Euros (8 mill NOK). Frame: FRIPRO Young Reserach Talents. (2017-2022) PI: Bygnes

Labor Migration in Uncertain Times: Migration from Spain to Norway. Research Council of Norway: 3.500 000 NOK. VAM. Personal Postdoctoral Fellowship (2014-2018) PI: Bygnes

Claims-Making On Behalf Of Migrants In A Time Of Populism: Comparative Survey Experiments In Norway And California PIs: Kim Voss, Irene Bloemraad (both UC Berkeley), Elisabeth Ivarsflaten and Susanne Bygnes (both UiB), 15 000 USD, Peder Sather Grant Program (2017-2018). 

Flyktningekrisa: forestillinger og erfaringer. Pilotstudie finanisert av UiB og NFR. (2016). PI: Bygnes.


Opposisjon doktoravhandling:

Nessa, Benedicte "Navigating expectations: concurrent processes of Inclusion and Exclusion in Refugees' (DIs)integration into the Norwegian labour market. ViD Specialized Unviversity, October 2023. 

Ayden, Seda "Political socialisation processes of return migrants. The case of Turkish returnees from Germany". Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, December 2019.


Fagfelle for:

American Journal of Sociology

The Sociological Review

Sociological Forum

International Journal of Comparative Sociology

Population, Space and Place


Journal of Youth Studies

Canadian Studies in Population

Social Movement Studies

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS)

International Migration Reivew

Refugee Survey Quarterly

Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies

Journal of Refugee Studies

Comparative Migration Studies

Migration Studies

International Migration

Tijdschrift voor Economische en Social Geografie

Nordic Journal of Migration Studies