PhD Student

EHESS – CI Migrations


aline.desmas (at)

Research theme
Geography of migrations, Children’s geographies

Transversal subjects
Mobilities and territories: towards a relational approach to space

Géographie-cités • Campus Condorcet
5 cours des Humanités
93322 Aubervilliers cedex (France)

My doctoral research aims at bringing to light the point of view of children who have migrated with their families in a context of asylum, a perspective that has barely been addressed in France so far. In keeping with Children’s Geographies, I intend to analyse children’s spatial agency in narrow and constrained living places, by focusing on the time and space of the waiting period entailed by complexe asylum procedures. I will have a look at various scales, from the very local one of the room to the larger scales of the neighborhood or the city, in order to grasp how children appropriate space between autonomy and constraints. Beyond the analysis of spatial practises in various geographical and accommodation contexts, this work will allow me to contemplate children’s representations of migration and to sketch their geographies of waiting which question power structures within the migration context but also within the family. In an ethnographic approach, my research resorts to qualitative research methods in which children (6-13) play an essential part, whether it be in the participant observation or the interviews which require specific methods (drawing and/or photo-based interviews, mind maps). Such a research subject demands a particular attention to ethics and power relations at stake in the interviewer/interviewees relationship.


Since 2022 Phd : “Migrating with one’s family in an asylum context: children’s experiences of waiting”. PhD research funded by CI Migrations

2022 Master’s degree in Migration Studies – Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, EHESS, CI Migrations

2021 1st-year Master in Geography of Development – Université Paris-Cité

2011 French agrégation in English

Professional positions

2012 – 2022 English teacher in a French high school

Scientific activities


Cities and migrations, CI Migrations, Policy Department


2022-2023 : Teaching assistant in the CI Migrations’ Master’s (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and EHESS)