Erlend Paasche

Doctoral Researcher

Erlend Paasche
Erlend Paasche left PRIO in 2016. The information on this page is kept for historical reasons.

Research Interests

Doctoral research on return migration to Iraq from Norway and the UK, supervised by Dr. Jørgen Carling as part of the wider research project 'Possibilities and Realities of Return Migration' (PREMIG), coordinated from PRIO.

Key words

Return migration, Iraqi and Kurdish forced migration, voluntary return and reintegration programmes, transnationalism, war and migration, inclusion and exclusion of migrants.



Languages spoken:

English, Norwegian, Arabic, German, French, Spanish (to varying degrees).


Working experience:

2009-2011: Research assistant at a joint CMI/PRIO evaluation of a voluntary assisted return and reintegration programme for Iraqis (IRRINI), commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.

2011: Freelance work for the Norwegian People's Aid, producing a popular article on the socioeconomic status of Palestinian refugees in Syria, Jordan and Iraq.


2010-2011: Research assistant at the Institute of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, analyzing processes of inclusion and exclusion among young adults with immigration background within the EUMARGINS project.


2008: Middle East analyst and writer for the Norwegian Refugee Council’s annual report on displacement worldwide.


2007: Freelance researcher for the League of Arab States HQ/Department of Population and Migration, in Cairo, Egypt.


2002-2003: Solidarity worker and English teacher for the Palestine Committee of Norway in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon.



2011-(ongoing): Doctoral candidate at Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

2007-2009: M.A. in Middle East and North African Studies. University of Oslo. Awarded scholarship and institutional affiliation with the Peace Research Institute Oslo and the Centre of Excellence for the Study of Civil War.


2006-2007: Advanced Arabic language studies for postgraduate students. University of Oslo and International Language Institute, Cairo, Egypt.


2004-2006: B.A. in Middle East and North African Studies. University of Oslo and Goethe Institute, Damascus, Syria.


2000-2001: Foundational studies in Anthropology and Psychology. University of Tromsø.


1996-1998: International Baccalaureate. Trondheim Katedralskole.


PRIO started tracking events online in 2007. This listing is not complete. Past events may be mentioned in our news archive.


Paasche, E; Knudsen, A. & Strand, A. (2013). 'War and Migration', in Ness. I (Ed.) The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford.

Fangen, K. & Paasche, E. (forthcoming, 2013). 'Young Adults of Ethnic Minority Background on The Norwegian Labour Market: The Interactional Co-construction of Exclusion by Employers and Customers', Ethnicites.

Paasche, E. & Fangen, K. (2013). 'Transnational Involvement: Reading Quantitative Studies in Light of Qualitative Data', International Journal of Population Research.

Paasche, E. & Strand, A. (2012). 'En komparativ analyse av to landbaserte retur- og reintegreringsprogrammer: Hva fungerer (ikke) i reintegreringsfasen? [A Comparative Analysis of Two Country-based Return And Reintegration Programmes: What Works in The Reintegration Phase?] I: Berg, B. & Valenta, M. Asylsøker: I velferdstatens venterom. Universitetsforlaget: Oslo.

Paasche, E. (2011). 'Iraqi Refugees in A Damascus Suburb: Carriers of Sectarian Conflict', International Journal of Contemporary Studies, 5(2): pp. 247-262.

Paasche, E. & Fangen, K. (2011). "Ethnic School Segregation: Effects and Policies", EUMARGINS Policy Brief No. 4.

Paasche, E. & Fangen, K. (2010). "Transnational Involvement: Reading A Quantitative Study in Light of Qualitative Data," conference paper presented at the 'Transnational Practices in Migration' (TRANSMIG) conference, University of Stockholm, 4-5 November.

Kallas, K; Fangen, K. & Paasche, E. (2010). "Labour Market Discrimination: Is Discrimination an Issue? Young Adults with Immigration Background in the Labour Market", EUMARGINS Policy Brief No. 3.

Fangen, K; Lynnebakke, B. & Paasche, E. (2010). "Citizenship Regimes: Consequences for Inclusion and Exclusion of Young Adult Immigrants in Europe", EUMARGINS Policy Brief No. 2.

Paasche, Erlend. (2010). “Back to the Future: Iraqi Refugees Contemplate a Return to Iraq”, Jane’s Intelligence Review, Vol. 22, No. 1.

Gebara, C. & Paasche, E. (2007). "Youth Participation and International Examples of Best Practice in the Development Field". League of Arab States, Internal Document.

Gebara, C. & Paasche, E. (2007). "Capacity Building of Youth Leaders in the Arab Region". League of Arab States, Internal Document.

Recent publications

Paasche, Erlend (2016) The role of corruption in reintegration: experiences of Iraqi Kurds upon return from Europe, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42(7): 1076–1093.

All publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Paasche, Erlend (2016) The role of corruption in reintegration: experiences of Iraqi Kurds upon return from Europe, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42(7): 1076–1093.
Paasche, Erlend; & Fangen , Katrine (2012) Transnational Involvement: Reading Quantitative Studies in Light of Qualitative Data , International Journal of Population Research – 12.
Fangen , Katrine; & Erlend Paasche (2012) Young Adults of Ethnic Minority Background on the Norwegian Labour Market: The Interactional Co-construction of Exclusion by Employers and Customers, Ethnicities 13(5): 607–624.

Book Chapter

Paasche, Erlend; Are Knudsen & Arne Strand (2013) War and Migration, in The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell .
Paasche, Erlend & Arne Strand (2012) En komparativ analyse av to landbaserte retur- og reintegreringsprogrammer : : hva fungerer (ikke) i reintegreringsfasen?, in Valenta, Marko; & Berit Berg, eds, Asylsøker: I Velferdsstatens Venterom. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget (205–224).

Non-refereed Journal Article

Carling, Jørgen; Erlend Paasche & Melissa Siegel (2015) Finding Connections: The Nexus between Migration and Corruption, Migration Information Source 5.
Govinda, Daniel Clayton;Gissel, Line Engbo;Gomsrud, Lars Seland;Leclerc-Gagné, Elise;Paasche, Erlend;Prest, Stewart; & Schäfer, Julian (2011) The Method Makes the Manuscript: Key Texts in the Theoretical and Methodological Advancement of the Study of Civil War , Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 5(2): 239–251.

Popular Article

Paasche, Erlend (2014) Nationalism Under Pressure: Islamic State, Iraq and Kurdistan, ISN Security Watch.
Paasche, Erlend (2014) Kan Irak fikses? [Can Iraq be fixed?], Dagsavisen.
Paasche, Erlend (2014) Vaklende løsrivelse [Faltering seccession], Morgenbladet.
Paasche, Erlend (2014) Nasjonalisme under press [Nationalism under pressure], Dagens Næringsliv.
Erdal, Marta Bivand; & Paasche, Erlend (2011) De etniske brillene må av [Off with the Ethnic Glasses], Bergens Tidende, 5 October.
Paasche, Erlend (2011) Palestinerne: Frihetskampen Fortsetter [The Palestinians: The Fight for Freedom Continues].
Paasche, Erlend (2011) Spredd for alle vinder [Scattered to the Winds], Palestinerne: Frihetskampen Fortsetter, 30 August.
Paasche, Erlend (2009) Flåsete om verdens ondskap [Flippant on the Evil of the World], Morgenbladet, 2 January.
Paasche, Erlend (2008) Iraq: When Resettlement Stats Show Betrayal, ISN Security Watch, 8 July.
Paasche, Erlend (2007) Saudi Arabia's Economic Liberalization, ISN Security Watch, 12/12/2007.
Paasche, Erlend (2007) What Makes the Human Bomb Tick?, ISN Security Watch, 31 July.

Conference Paper

Paasche, Erlend (2014) Elites and emulators: the evolution of an Iraqi Kurdish - European migration system, presented at THEMIS conference: Theorizing migration systems, University of Oxford, 26.02.2014.

PRIO Policy Brief

Paasche, Erlend (2014) Why Assisted Return Programmes Must Be Evaluated, PRIO Policy Brief, 8. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).
Paasche, Erlend (2014) Iraqi Kurdistan: Partner Under Pressure, PRIO Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.

Report - Other

Carling, Jørgen; Marta Bolognani; Marta Bivand Erdal; Rojan Tordhol Ezzati; Ceri Oeppen; Erlend Paasche; Silje Vatne Pettersen; & Tove Heggli Sagmo (2015) Possibilities and Realities of Return MigrationOslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO).

Report - External Series

Strand, Arne;Bendixsen, Synnøve;Paasche, Erlend; & Schultz, Jessica (2011) Between Two Societies: Review of the Information, Return and Reintegration of Iraqi Nationals to Iraq (IRRINI) Programme, CMI Report, 4. : Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Book Review

Ganapathy-Doré, Geetha & Helga Ramsey-Kurz (2013) Review of Review of Erlend Paasche, ed., On the Move: The Journey of Refugees in New Literatures in English, in Journal of Peace Research 50(3): 428–428.
Paasche, Erlend(2008) Review of 'idsja:m 136–137.

Blog Posts

Finding Connections: The Nexus between Migration and Corruption

Posted by Jørgen Carling, Erlend Paasche & Melissa Siegel on Thursday, 11 June 2015

International migration and corruption have several things in common: they play key roles in development processes, feature prominently on policy agendas, and are the subject of large research literatures. However, the connections between migration and corruption, whether in the country of origin or along migration trajectories, remain relatively unexplored. The migration-corruption nexus has important implications for migrants, policymakers, practitioners, and local communities affected by emigration and immigration. Although focused attention to corruption remains rare in migration research, corruption frequently comes up as a topic because it affects people’s lives. For instance, one of the studies that inspired this article set ...

Why Assisted Return Programmes Must Be Evaluated

Posted by Erlend Paasche on Friday, 30 January 2015

Rejected asylum seekers often resist the legal obligation to return. Consequently, European policy makers tasked with migration managament have turned to so-called ‘Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programmes’ (AVRRs) to incentivize return to and support reintegration in the country of origin. Such programmes are described as less politically costly, more humane, simpler and cheaper than deportation. But with very limited monitoring and evaluation of AVRRs we know little about how well they work and whether the promised support is given. In a recent policy brief, I outline some of the compelling reasons to monitor and evaluate AVRRs. Assisted Voluntary Return ...

An Independent Iraqi Kurdistan?

Posted by Erlend Paasche on Monday, 24 November 2014

A change of prime minister will not resolve Iraq’s structural problems, and while a dysfunctional Iraqi state is reeling from onslaughts by Islamic extremists, the Iraqi Kurds in the north of the country have never been stronger. Even so, we are very unlikely to see an independent Iraqi Kurdistan in the immediate future. Behind the recent flood of news reports from Iraq, about the brutal efficiency of the Islamic extremists, ethnic cleansing, and Western intervention, there is another, deeper question that deserves more attention: Now that the Iraqi state is so weak, will the Kurds in the north of the ...

Can Iraq be Fixed?

Posted by Erlend Paasche on Saturday, 15 November 2014

Iraq’s new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, faces the enormous task of uniting the country. But whatever the outcome, Iraq cannot be restored to how it was before the summer. There is broad agreement that the former Iraqi prime minister, Nour al-Maliki, was a part of the problem, and that his replacement by Haider al-Abadi is a positive development. But the attacks in August, on Shia and Sunni mosques respectively, show once again that Iraq’s problems are systemic. For several years Iraq has ranked among the world’s most failed states, alongside countries such as Somalia, Chad and Yemen. These states are ...

Nationalism under Pressure: Islamic State, Iraq and Kurdistan

Posted by Erlend Paasche on Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Has the Iraqi Kurds’ sense of national identity been strengthened by the emergence of the so-called Islamic State? Not necessarily. If anything, mounting socio-economic and political tensions inside northern Iraq have been tearing at Kurdish nationalism for the last decade. The so-called Islamic State (IS) continues to pose a serious threat to the Middle East and beyond. Its fighters currently have the upper hand in parts of northern Syria, and continue to threaten Baghdad’s control over southern Iraq as well as the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in the north. And while the United States, United Kingdom and others continue to ...