Postgraduate Modules: POL6003 - The Politics of Global Migration

Module Code

POL 6003

Module Title

The Politics of Global Migration


Level 4




30 credits

Taught by:

Dr Marcia Vera Espinoza (Module Leader), Dr Joe Turner and Dr Peter J. Verovšek

Module Description:

International migration is one of the most important issues in global politics. This module examines how states, regional organisations (such as the European Union) and institutions at international level (such as the United Nations) respond to the challenges of international migration. The module encourages students to assess leading conceptual and theoretical interpretations of the relationship between international migration, the state system and ideas such as sovereignty, rights and protection. These have all become global issues because they are at the intersection of politics at state and international level. The module considers responses to international migration in its various forms in terms of often competing modes of understanding or 'framing' of international migration, i.e., as a security concern, as a human rights issue or as a matter of economic development. It also explores prospects for the ‘global governance’ of international migration. The module begins with a general introduction to our understandings of international migration and reviews the literature on various types of international migration. The module then examines responses in Europe, North America, Asia and Africa and asks whether institutions at global level can emerge for the management of international migration, such as within the UN system. The module concludes by thinking about key issues in the future development of migration, such as the effects of climate change.

Module Aims:

By the end of this module students will be able to demonstrate independent and critical understanding of the most important aspects of political responses to global migration. This will include:

  • Fully identifying the differences between forms and types of migration and the responses that develop at national, regional and international level;
  • Awareness of the relationship between theory and practice in relation to the politics of global migration;
  • Demonstrating understanding of varying responses to state, regional and international level to global migration;
  • Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches to the study of the politics of global migration and to assess critically the competing claims that are made regarding the impact of international migration.

This module also equips students with a range of important transferrable skills, which are vital in terms of employability, including working independently as well as part of a team; managing a varied workload; assimilating and synthesising multiple theoretical ideas; constructing coherent, independent and critical arguments.

Module Schedule:

1 Module Introduction
Part 1: Understanding the Politics of International Migration
2-3 The Politics of International Migration
4 The Quest for Control
5 Forced Migration
6 Making the Connections: Local-National-Regional-Global
Part 2: International Migration at Regional and Global Level
7 The European Union
8 Americas (North and South America)
9 Africa
10 Asia-Pacific
11 The Global Governance of International Migration
12 Conclusions: the future of migration

Teaching Methods:

  • 12 * 2 hour seminars


  • Interview exercise - 10% of mark
  • Essay 1 (2,500 words) - 40% of mark
  • Essay 2 (3,500 words) - 50% of mark

Resources Available:

  • Individual feedback and guidance sessions with module tutors.
  • Detailed 20-page module handbook.
  • Dedicated module site on MOLE2.
  • Extensive library materials, including a wide variety of electronic and digitised resources.

Indicative Reading:

Castles, Steven, Haas, Hein de, and Miller, Mark (2014) The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, Palgrave Macmillan, Fifth edition.

Betts, Alexander (2011) Global Migration Governance, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hollifield, James, Martin, Philip, and Orrenius, Pia (2014, eds.) Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective, Stanford University Press, Third edition.

Boswell, Christina and Geddes, Andrew (2011) Migration and Mobility in the European Union, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Messina, Anthony M. (2007): The logics and politics of post-WWII migration to Western Europe. New York, Cambridge University Press.

Moses, Jonathan (2006) International Migration: Globalisation’s Last Frontier, London: Zed.

Joppke, Christian and Guiraudon, Virginie (eds.) Controlling a New Migration World, London: Routledge.

Tichenor, Daniel (2002) Dividing Lines: The Politics of Immigration Control in America, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Bhagwati, Jagdesh (1998) A Stream of Windows: Unsettling Reflections on Trade, Immigration and Democracy, Cambridge (Mass.): MIT Press.

Swain, Carole (2007) Debating Immigration, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.