Dr. Mateja Celestina

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Dr. Mateja Celestina

Research Associate

My Research Vision

My main research interests concern the ways in which conflict affects people - both civilians and combatants. On the one hand I explore why people resort to (a particular type of) violence, and on the other how they experience violence. I am particularly interested in how seeing and living through conflict marks people’s every-day existence, their relations and their perception of the world. Through this kind of research I hope to find a new angle to bring conflict-ridden lives - struggles, achievements, social relations - of ordinary people living in extraordinary times to public and policy attention.


Dr. Mateja Celestina’s research concerns conflict affected populations. She is particularly interested in lived experiences of forced migrants in protracted situations of displacement. She focuses not only on spatial but also temporal aspects of the phenomenon and the relationship between the two. Through the examination of loss of place and the subsequent making of place, she challenges the timeframe within which displacement is usually considered and explores the intertwined nature of displacement and emplacement. Her other research interests include politicisation and effectiveness of humanitarian aid, policy categories and their impact on identity and identification, social relations, memory and belonging.


  • Celestina, M. (2016) ‘Violence and place-belongingness: myths and realities of violence in Colombia’. in Linking Political Violence and Crime in Latin America: Myths, Realities and Complexities. Ed. by Howarth, K., and Peterson J. Lexington Books.
  • Celestina, M. (2015) ‘‘Displacement’ before displacement: time, place and the case of rural Urabá’Journal of Latin American Studies.
  • Celestina, M. (2015) ‘Negotiating place: interpersonal reconciliation and emplacement’. inForced Migration, Reconciliation, and Justice. Ed. by Bradley, M. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.
  • Celestina, M. (2014). Celestina on Bradley, 'Refugee Repatriation: Justice, Responsibility and Redress'.


  • Experiences of displacement and emplacement in rural Colombia: PhD research project exploring internal displacement as process, category and experience, with particular reference to Colombia.
  • Moving beyond addressing girls' needs to addressing gender relations: the reintegration of girl soldiers in Colombia: MSc research project.
Research breakout image

Research Associate

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