University of Ghana
Michael Okyerefo is Associate Professor and Head of Department of Sociology, University of Ghana. His affiliation to The New Global (De)Centre stimulates his keen interest in alternative epistemologies, which is reflected in one of the graduate programmes he teaches, African Social Thought.
As a graduate of the Universities of Ghana, Vienna, and Cambridge, a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge Centre of African Studies (2007/2008), and an External Research Fellow at the Global African Diaspora Studies (GADS) Institut für Afrikawissenschaften, University of Vienna (since 2014), Michael is a Sociologist of Culture & Sociologist of Religion. His interests are far-reaching, ranging from the nexus of religion and culture; to the socio-economic, political and health processes in contemporary Ghana; and to migration, transnational networks and human capital formation among Ghanaians in the diaspora. While he is sociologist by training, he also applies anthropological skills with an emphasis on fieldwork in his research; skills which he refined during a fully paid Fellowship on Religion and Public Culture at the University of Cambridge.
He has conducted research on Ghanaian Pentecostal Churches and their Transnational Missions in the global North, arguing that religion is an effective coping mechanism in the social context of rejection typical of the experience of African immigrants as Ausländer, in Austria. In spite of the benefits members of the Pentecostal churches derive from the social capital generated in their churches, the study finds that by promoting an increased interaction among one’s own kind in their diasporic conditions, these religious groups detract from enabling individuals to integrate in their destinations of migration.
Also, his research on Migration, Citizenship and Belonging of Ghanaians in Austria argues that citizenship, belonging and identity are constantly being negotiated by individual Ghanaian migrants with reference to the Austrian society. The study offers an interpretive explanation of the lives of interviewees’ realities as foreigners who seek some degree of acceptance in Austria amid the increasing difficulties regarding the European rebuff of foreigners in the EU.
Currently, he is engaged with a team of four researchers in a CODESRIA Grant research project on “Strengthening African Universities: Academic Collaboration between African scholars in Africa and their peers in the Diaspora” being carried out in Ghana, Ethiopia, Senegal, Canada and the US. This project investigates the contribution of African academics in the diaspora in strengthening African universities through their research collaboration with their counterparts on the continent.
His latest work (with Mary B. Setrana, 2018) is ‘Internal and international migration dynamics in Africa’. In A. Triandafyllidou (Ed.), Handbook of Migration and Globalisation (pp. 281-296). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
He speaks six languages including English, German and French.
Profile on UG