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 (Chancellor installation speech 2015)
The movement of people has always been part of the human condition bringing about change in all societies, addressing some social, political and economic challenges while simultaneously creating others. Mobility and migration raise important conceptual and philosophical questions about notions of rights, citizenship and belonging. They are also central to global development agendas, when considering, for example, the role of remittances and other more intangible transfers by people on the move; the role of the state and international organisations; and the relationships between those who move and those who choose not to – or who cannot – move. Mobility also calls into question the idea of national or regional development: is it concerned with changes in a geographical location or changes in the lives of people, wherever they may move?
New technologies, shifting public and political attitudes towards people on the move and the challenges posed by climate change and conflicts across the world, will continue to shape processes of migration, mobility and transnational relations. More recently, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought into stark relief deep global inequalities that underpin the experiences of many mobile populations. The relationship between mobility and development is thus continuously changing in profound and unpredictable ways.
How we are addressing it:
We pursue a range of innovative research agendas that explore and interrogate the relationship between varied and multiple forms of mobility and social, economic and political development.
Through major research grants key themes under investigation include:
- Contesting the politics of border-zones, borderscapes, encampment and containment through the lens of the postcolonial hegemonic world order.
- Examining the journey to challenge the characterisation of migration as a unilinear move from one place to another and to explore the significance of trauma, transit and sojourn in shaping movements and their outcomes.
- Understanding mobile lives through the lens of transnational lived citizenship as a category of analysis and a category of practice.
- Investigating theoretical understandings of social transformation through empirical and historical analysis of shifting social relations across generations.
- Challenging top-down economic and bureaucratic approaches to migration through an exploration of everyday agency and solidarity that includes the corporate sector, civil society, diaspora and global networks.
- Exploring the role of gender and intersectional concerns, including race, sexuality, disability and class, in shaping inequalities for migrants, their families and communities at origin and destination.
- Exploring historical processes of postcolonial mobility to de-centre western notions of adventure, travel and exploration.
Tanja Müller and Oliver Bakewell examine how diaspora populations establish different forms of political belonging.
Organised by Tanja Bastia's photo competition and virtual exhibition explored the theme of migration and Covid-19 in Latin America.
This project explores the relationship between tourism and development and environmental sustainability and its impact on the lives and livelihoods of small-island communities
The project will investigate how precarious migrant lives transform and are transformed by the urban spaces where they reside, while maintaining transnational linkages.
The project will explore disability, sexuality and the gendered experiences of skilled and highly educated migrants in the Global South.
The project explores how mobile populations are able to participate in the economic, social and political life in the geographical spaces where they reside.
- Ageing and migration
- Poverty and income inequalities
- Migration and development in the Horn of Africa
- Gender inequalities
- EU Migration Management in Africa and the Middle East
- Ageing and migration
- Moving the goalposts of citizenship? German business sector engagement and refugee integration
- Migration Lab
- Perceptions and understandings of climate change and migration
- Conflict, Displacement and Home
- 'Memories of Paradise’ – Legacies of Socialist Mobility
- ‘From refugee to pioneer?’ (Re-)claiming rights and a future within the Israeli asylum regime: a study among the Eritrean community of Tel Aviv
- Cosmopolitan development: The impacts of international volunteering
Our teaching agenda:
We offer a dedicated Masters pathway that centres on the interactions between migration and development.
In addition, the core modules on migration and mobility can be taken as options within the following pathways:
- Global Development with Poverty and Inequality MSc
- Research Methods with International Development MSc
- Global Development MSc
We also offer supervision on any topics linked to Migration, Refugees and Asylum within the following two PhD programmes:
People and publications:
Click on the names below to read their latest publications or read the latest publications from the Global Development Institute.
- Prof Tanja Bastia - Professor, International Development; group convenor
- Prof Tanja Müller - Professor in Political Sociology; group convenor
- Dr Oliver Bakewell - Reader, Migration Studies
- Prof Ralitza Dimova - Professor in Development Economics
- Dr Gianluca Iazzolino - Lecturer in Digital Development
- Prof Uma Kothari - Professor, Migration and Postcolonial Studies
There are several non-GDI colleagues who are also involved in the migration, refugees and asylum research group
- Dr Elena Barabantseva - Senior Lecturer in Chinese International Politics
- Prof Alice Bloch - Professor of Sociology
- Dr Miriam Bradley - Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies, Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute
- Prof Rosemary Broad - Professor, Criminology
- Dr Jane Brooks – Senior Lecturer Nursing and Midwifery
- Dr Antoine Burgard – Lecturer in Humanitarianism
- Dr Jonathan Gilmore - Lecturer in International Relations
- Dr Jessica Hawkins- Senior Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies
- Dr Alison Jeffers - Lecturer in Applied Theatre
- Dr Sheena Kalayil - Author
- Dr Aoileann Ní Mhurchú - Lecturer in International Politics
- Prof Madeleine Reeves - Professor, Oxford University
- Dr Clara Sandelind – Lecturer in Political Theory
- Dr Gunjan Sondhi - Senior Lecturer in Geography at the Open University
- Dr Louise Tomkow– NIHR Clinical Lecturer
- Prof Arkadiusz Wisniowski - Professor of Social Statistics & Demography
Honorary Research Fellows
- Dr Luis Eduardo Perez Murcia
- Dr Fazila Bhimji
- Dr Cathy A Wilcock
- Emma Söderman
- Josephine Biglin
- Dr Matt Walsham
- 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.
- Leona Yang – “Irregular migrants’” struggles for novel forms of humanitarianism: Struggles and resistance in Morocco
- Yuhao Ren - Internal Migration and Inequality in China
Megan Hadfield - the impact of immigration policy on modern slavery experienced by homeless non-UK nationals in Greater Manchester, strategies that can be implemented to better support this population, collaborative work with charities.
- Jiacheng Liu - Urban Stratification, Social Integration, Settlement intention of China’s Floating Population
The migration, refugees and asylum group also works closely with PhD researchers and post-doctoral fellows from other departments.