Dr Ilka Vari-Lavoisier

ilka vari lavoisier web

Research Affiliate

Ilka holds a BA in Political Science (Science Po, Aix-en-Provence), a joint master’s degree in Social Sciences (ENS/EHESS, Paris), and a PhD in Sociology from the École Normale Supérieure de Paris. She held a Procter Fellowship at Princeton University (2013 – 2015) and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania (2015 – 2017), before joining the University of Oxford, in 2018.

Since she joined the University, Ilka has been collaborating with various departments and units, including the Migration and Mobility Network, the Department of Sociology, the School of Geography, the Department of Education, and the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, where she retains affiliations. She is currently a Junior Research Fellow at Kellogg College.

Ilka specialises in international migration and transnational mixed-methods research design. Her research focuses on the migration and development nexus (visit her website for more information). Over the years, she developed an interdisciplinary approach to international migration in collaboration with economists, anthropologists, geographers, sociologists, social psychologists, and cognitive scientists (see her publications for more information). Her work has appeared in several high-impact factor journals including The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Ilka taught research methods at UPenn, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, the University of Luxembourg, and the University of Oxford, with a focus on mixed methods research and web-based surveys. She has a keen interest in hybrid pedagogy and has further developed her expertise in digital media methods in recent years. Since 2021, she has been teaching video methods at the School of Anthropology and runs video training programmes for several other departments as well as two divisions. Passionate about video, Ilka has also produced several short films for the University of Oxford.

She has been awarded a Teaching Development and Enhancement Project Award jointly with Chihab El Khachab in 2024. Currently, she works with several cohorts of students and staff interested in leveraging video as part of their research, teaching, and impact activities.


2023 "Political Economy of Student Mobility: Scholarship and Self-Funded Students’ Contribution to Short- and Long-Term Migration in the UK" - under review

2023 "How do international student returnees contribute to the development of their home countries? A systematic mapping and thematic synthesis,“ with Zhe Wang, Natalya Hanley, Joonghyun Kwak, Mira Al Hussein, Lorena Sanchez, and Ahmad Akkad - R&R

2022 « Les modèles voyageurs de l’industrie du développement confrontés à l’épreuve des contextes », special issue co-edited with Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, Revue internationale des études du développement, volume 1, Issue 248.

2021 “Making Sense of One Another in Crossing Borders: Social Cognition and Migration Politics“ special issue, co-edited with Susan T. Fiske, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

2021 “Forecasting under uncertainty: How networks composition shape future-oriented cognition”, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (under press).

2020 “Minds on the move: Crossing disciplines to shed new light on human cognition”, WIREs Cognitive Science, Volume 12, Issue 1.

2019 “Collective Thinking in the Field: Distributed Cognition in Large-Scale Qualitative Research”, with Paolo Boccagni, Milena Belloni, Sara Bonfanti, Aurora Massa, Luis-Eduardo Perez Murcia, Alejandro Miranda Nieto, Space and Society, 2019/4.

2019 “On the complexities of collaborative ethnography: Ethical and methodological insights from the HOMInG project” with Paolo Boccagni, Milena Belloni, Sara Bonfanti, Aurora Massa, Luis-Eduardo Perez Murcia, Alejandro Miranda Nieto, IMISCOE Briefs on Methodological, Ethical and Epistemological Issues, 2019/12.

2019 “Beyond Social Remittances: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Immaterial Circulations”, in The Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development, dir.: Ronald Skeldon and Tanja Bastia, Routledge Editions.

2018 “Corruption et mobilités transnationales. Les migrants, acteurs de changement ?”, in Transnationalisme économique, social et politique, dir.: Lisa Chauvet, Flore Gubert, Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Thibault Jaulin, DeBoeck editions.

2016 “Social Remittances and the Changing Transnational Political Landscape” with Thomas Lacroix and Peggy Levitt, Comparative Migration Studies, 4: 20.

2016 “The Economic Side of Social Remittances: How Money and Ideas circulate between Paris, Dakar, and New York”, Comparative Migration Studies, 4: 20.

2016 “Paris – Dakar – Bokidiawé  :  Retour  sur  une   aventure  collective transnationale”, with Flore Gubert, Sandrine Mesplé-Somps and Inssa Sané, Ethnographiques.org, n° 32.

2016 “Une invitation aux enquêtes transnationales. Retour sur le projet TIMME (Terrains Interdisciplinaires et Multi-sites : Migrations et Engagements)”, E- Migrinter, n° 14/2016.

2015 “Stepping Back From Your Figures to Figure Out More: From Linguistic to Cognitive limits of Transnational Surveys” in Observing Protest from a Place: The World Social Forum in Dakar, dir.: Johanna Siméant, Marie-Emmanuelle Pommerolle & Isabelle Sommier, Amsterdam University Press.

2011 “Heurs et  malheurs  des  chômeurs  créateurs  d’entreprises. De la complémentarité entre ethnographie et économétrie”, Terrains et Travaux, vol. 2/2011.