School of Social and Political Science

Dr Ann-Christin Zuntz

Job Title

Lecturer in Anthropology of Development; Programme Director of the MSc International Development

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Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

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My name is Ann-Christin Zuntz (formerly Wagner). I am a lecturer in Anthropology of Development at the University of Edinburgh, and Programme Director of the MSc International Development.

I am an economic anthropologist: my research looks at the nexus of labour and migrations in global economies, particularly in the Middle East, and in the context of the Syrian conflict. I am also very interested in rethinking research ethics for fieldworkers "beyond do no harm".

Before my PhD, I worked with the International Organization for Migration in Geneva. For my doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh, I did fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with Syrian refugees in Mafraq, northern Jordan, in 2016/17. In 2019, I conducted research with Syrian and Congolese youth in urban areas in Uganda and Jordan as part of a pilot study on adolescent refugees’ reproductive health, together with Dr George Palattiyil (University of Edinburgh).

Refugee labour & food security in the Middle East

Since 2019, I have been a project partner of SyrianFoodFutures (which has now been formalized as the OneHealth FIELD Network), conducting interviews with Syrian farm workers and agricultural entrepreneurs in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, the Kurdistan region of Iraq and Northwest Syria. For updates, follow us on Twitter @OneHealthFIELD

Here is a taster of our research.

In 2020, I was a co-investigator of From the FIELD: lmpacts of COVID-19 on Syrian Food Security lntelligence and Evidence-based Interventions for Sustainable Local Development, a SFC-GCRF funded study of the knock-on effects of COVID-19 risk mitigation measures on displaced Syrians' livelihoods in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and Northwest Syria. One of our objectives is to pilot remote ethnographic methods in humanitarian settings, including the use of "food diaries" to understand the impact of movement restrictions on domestic food production and consumption.

Since October 2020, I have been the principal investigator of the AHRC-funded project Refugee labour under lockdown. Together with Syrian Academics affiliated with Syrian Academic Expertise and the Council for At-Risk Academics, and the Turkish not-for-profit cooperative Development Workshop, we use remote ethnographic research to document how working conditions and relationships with agricultural intermediaries and employers have changed for displaced Syrians in agriculture during the pandemic. One of the outputs of this project is the graphic novel "May God Bless the Hand that Works".

Exploitative refugee labour is often located in the Global South, and in host countries which are not signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention. But it is also a reality in the Global North, and  even in countries that grant refugees full access to the formal labour market. In June 2021, I am starting a new research project on the experiences of Syrian refugee women in the gig economy in Bulgaria, together with Dr Marina Kaneti from the National University of Singapore, and the Bulgarian social enterprise Humans in the Loop. Stay tuned!


Publications with an * appeared under my former name Ann-Christin Wagner.


NEW: Zuntz, Ann-Christin. 2021. “Refugees’ transnational livelihoods and remittances: Syrian mobilities in the Middle East before and after 2011.” Journal of Refugee Studies,

NEW: Zuntz, Ann-Christin, Palattiyil, George, Amawi, Abla, Al Akash, Ruba, Nashwan, Ayat, Al Majali, Areej, and Harish Nair. 2021. “Early marriage and displacement – a conversation: How Syrian daughters, mothers and mothers-in-law in Jordan understand marital decision-making.” Journal of the British Academy 9: 179-212.

NEW: Sidhva, Dina, Zuntz, Ann-Christin, Al Akash, Ruba, Nashwan, Ayat, and Areej Al Majali. 2021. “’In exile, the woman became everything’ – Middle-aged Syrian women’s contributions to family livelihoods during protracted displacement in Jordan.Journal of Humanitarian Affairs 3(1): 41-15.

Wagner, A.*, Abdullateef, S. & L. Boden (2020). " COVID-19 may not have reached Syrian communities in the Middle East, but its domino effects have." Routed #10 " Epidemics, labour and mobility".

Wagner, A.* (2020). "Candid discussions about fieldwork - The New Ethnographer pre-field training workshop." Anthropology Today 36(3): 29.

Wagner, A. *(2018). "Giving Aid Inside the Home – Humanitarian House Visits, Performative Refugeehood and Social Control for Syrians in Jordan." Migration and Society 1: 36-50.

Wagner, A.* (2018). "Remapping the Holy Land from the margins: how a Jordanian Evangelical church juggles the ‘local’ and the ‘global’ in the Syrian refugee response." Contemporary Levant 3(2): 95-109. Winner of the CBRL 2018 Best Prize Article.

Wagner, A.* (2017). "Frantic Waiting. NGO Anti-Politics and “Timepass” for Young Syrian Refugees in Jordan.Middle East – Topics and Arguments (META) 9: 107-121.

Book chapters:

Wagner, A.* (2019). "Acts of ‘homing’ in the Eastern Desert – How Syrian refugees make temporary homes in a village outside Zaatari Camp, Jordan." In: J. Lenhard & F. Samanani (eds.), Home - Ethnographic Encounters. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 175-188.

Gertel, J. & Wagner, A.* (2018). “Mobility, migration and flight.” In: J. Gertel & R. Hexel (eds.), Coping with Uncertainty: Youth in the Middle East and North Africa. London: Saqi Books, 198-222.

Blog posts:

Zuntz, A. & M. Klema (2021). “The pandemic through the eyes of Syrian agricultural workers in Lebanon.” COVID-19 Perspectives, 12 April.

Boden, L., Wagner, A.*, Abdullateef, S. & A. Al Kaddour (2020). “Community-led responses to COVID-19 are a matter of urgency in Syria.” COVID-19 Perspectives, 21 May.

Wagner, A.*, Al Kaddour, A., Abdullateef, S. & L. Boden (2020). "Covid-19 and displaced Syrians' livelihoods along the Turkey-Syria border." Corona Times, 11 May.

Dieng, R. & A. Wagner* (2020). "Teaching Development - How can we translate ethically sound practice in development-focused research into good teaching?" The Futureproof Collective, 23 January.

Wagner, A.* (2019). ““There are no missionaries here!” – How a local church took the lead in the refugee response in northern Jordan.” Southern Responses to Displacement, 14 Jan.

Wagner, A.* (2018). "In praise of the scaffolding." Allegra Lab, 12 July.

Wagner, A.* (2016). "Tiptoeing Across The Doorstep – Becoming The Daughter Of A Bedouin Family In The Jordanian Province." Abwab, CBRL British Institute in Amman, 7 Nov.

Wagner, A.* (2016). "Bad guests? On the role of house visits in aid delivery in urban Jordan." LSE Middle East Centre Blog, 13 June.

Research interests

Research interests

Return / transnational migration,Refugee studies, Transnational labour migration, Reproductive Health, Research ethics, Iraq and Middle East, East Africa, Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods

Research affiliations

Visiting Fellow at the Centre de recherches internationales (CERI), Sciences Po, Paris (January-March 2018)

Visiting Fellow at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, Trinity Term 2017 (April-June 2017)

Associated fellow, LAJEH project: Time of conflicts / time of migration: Reflections on the categories and genealogy of migration in the Middle East, Institut français du Proche-Orient, Amman (2016-2019).

Member of Citizens, Nations and Migration (CNaM) Network, University of Edinburgh

Member of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet), University of Glasgow

Topics interested in supervising

Migrations in the Middle East; refugee livelihoods; agricultural labour; food security; faith-based humanitarianism

If you are interested in being supervised by Ann-Christin Zuntz , please see the links below (open in new windows) for more information:

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