Aino E Korvensyrjä

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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Research interests: Deportation, borders, race, criminal legal system, asylum, externalisation, migrant struggles, solidarity

Korvensyrjä is a doctoral researcher at the Department of Social Research (Sociology, Social Anthropology), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, a lecturer at the Freie Universität in Berlin (European Studies Program) and a research associate in Justice Collective (Berlin), working on a three-year project on racism in the German criminal legal system. She is affiliated with the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations and Nationalism (CEREN), University of Helsinki, and a member of the German Network for Critical Migration and Border Regime Research (kritnet).

Korvensyrjä's doctoral research is an ethnography of law enforcement in the German asylum-deportation regime through the lens of black migrants' struggles (Title: Policing the “enforcement gap”: Black migrants, conflicts over deportation and race in the German humanitarian migration regime after 2015). The thesis examines the contested governance of the administrative suspension of deportation (Duldung) by multiple state agents and institutions. It builds on 20 months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2016 and 2022 with persons from West African countries under pending deportation after rejected asylum request or Dublin decision, interviews, analysis of laws, policy documents and administrative data.  The thesis draws on and seeks to contribute to critical debates on deportation, borders, racism, humanitarianism, law and state (violence). Moreover, the thesis engages with West African migration movements’ analyses. The public dimension of the research included reporting on court hearings, charter deportations, police violence and migrant protests, and supporting migrants to take legal action. Funded by Kone Foundation.

In addition to academic work, Korvensyrjä is engaged in social movements against various forms of state violence in Germany and transnationally. In 2015 she co-founded the activist research collective Culture of Deportation, documenting and supporting migrant struggles against deportation, policing and externalisation in the German humanitarian migration regime ( Since 2017 she conducted anti-racist court watching with the Berlin-based group Justizwatch.  Korvensyrjä is also a member of Migration Control – a transnational network of researchers, activists, journalists and NGOs documenting European border externalisation in Africa.

Korvensyrjä received her Master of Social Science degree in Social Science History in June 2015 (Excellent).





External positions

Research Associate, Justice Collective, Berlin

Jan 2023 → …

Lecturer, Freie Universität

2022 → …