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Global Development Institute

Migration, refugees and asylum

Migration, refugees and asylum

‘Migration is at the heart of who we are – it is the process of action, of learning. Migration is a natural celebration of human nature’ Lemn Sissay

The challenge:

The movement of people has always been part of the human condition and a vital process for all human societies bringing change, solving some social challenges and introducing others.

The contemporary world is characterised by a high degree of mobility, making the different and often overlapping categories of people on the move important political and developmental actors.

This movement of people relates back to conceptual philosophical questions about the absence of universal rights in actual political space and notions of citizenship and belonging, as well as to important global development agendas, such as remittances and other more intangible transfers of people on the move, which make a major contribution to global development.

How we are addressing it:

Throughout 2017 we have been bringing our innovative research agendas into greater focus through the Manchester Migration Lab . This culminated in the International Conference World on the Move held in Manchester in October/November 2017.

Subsequently, through major research grants key themes under investigation have been pursued that include:

  • Contesting the politics of border-zones, borderscapes, encampment and containment through the lens of the post-colonial hegemonic world order.
  • Examining the journey – challenging the characterisation of migration from one place to another and exploring the significance of the adventure, trauma, transit and sojourn in shaping movement and its outcomes.
  • Investigating theoretical understandings of social transformation through empirical analysis of history, social relations and generations.
  • Examining changing notions of home and belonging in relation to geographical place and transnational social spaces.
  • Challenging top-down neoliberal economic approaches to migration through an exploration of agency and solidarity from below that includes entrepreneurship, rights and citizenship claims.

Research Projects

Our teaching agenda:

People and publications:

Click on the names below to read their latest publications or read the latest publications from the Global Development Institute.

There are several non-GDI colleagues who are also involved in the migration, refugees and asylum research group

Honorary Research Fellows 

GDI PhD Researchers and Post-Doctoral Fellows

  • Matthew Walsham - Internal migration and social pensions in Uganda: The Senior Citizens Grant and its effects on intra-household dynamics and well-being in ‘multi-local households’
  • Mesghina Abraha - Research Associate
  • Maria del Pilar Bohada Rodriguez - Conflict-induced displacement, aspirations and “the capacity to aspire”
  • Malte Skov - Nepal-Malaysia migration: Gender and Inequality
  • Andreina Carillo Espinoza - In-between nations. The transnational agenda of the Venezuelan diaspora in Spain, and Democratic Legitimacy.

The migration, refugees and asylum group also works closely with PhD researchers and post-doctoral fellows from other departments. 

News and insights: