Migration: Conflict, the State and Human Rights - PO941

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
(version 2)
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7 20 (10) DR LA Williams







The module will address the wide variety of migration in the world, primarily from a contemporary perspective, but also including some historical comparison. This examination will broadly be structured along three lines of investigation: conflict, human rights and the state. The first comes into play with the discussion of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), while human rights (and conflict, to some extent) are discussed in the sessions on trafficking, smuggling and irregular migration. State control of migration is an overarching theme thoughout the module, but is explicitly discussed in many sessions, including a discussion of nation-state sovereignty and migration, labour migration and family unification. These themes will be addresed in both developing and developed countries, while we will seek to identify any patterns which are similar in different regions of the world (e.g. post-war guestworker migration to Germany and contemporary migration to South Korea and Japan).


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Method of assessment

Students will be assessed primarily on their performance on a research paper of 5000 words, to be handed in several weeks after the end of term, and worth 90% of the final mark. One oral seminar presentation is worth 10% of the overall mark.

The research paper will have a theoretical component, should develop a reasoned argument and will discuss a particular research question relevant to the course. The module convenor will be available to discuss selection of topics. The research paper will serve to further develop the understanding and application of facts and theories with relevance to one particular subject. This in-depth research of one subject will also serve to achieve the generic learning outcomes of conducting in-depth independent research, synthesizing material, applying theoretical concepts and developing arguments. SLOs and GLOs will be assessed by the research paper.

Each student will prepare one brief presentation of one reading. Each student will briefly (ca. 10 minutes) present the key issues raised in the reading. These presentations will highlight the main points of the readings, include questions for discussion and will serve as one guide to discussion – along with the module convenor.

Presentations will be assessed upon the presenter's ability to present the main arguments clearly and succinctly, pose critical questions and to create discussion. The presentation will count for 10% of the overall mark. Both SLOs and GLOs are thereby assessed.

Preliminary reading

Adepoju, A. 2003. "Continuity and Changing Configurations of Migration to and from the Republic of South Africa" In: International Migration. Vol 41 (1): 3-28.
Anh, D. 2005. "Enhancing the Development Impact of Migrant Remittances and Diaspora: The Case of Viet Nam." In: Asia-Pacific Population Journal. Vol 20(3): 15-38.
Asis, M. et al. 2004. "When the Light of the Home is Abroad: Unskilled Female Migration and the Filipino Family." In: Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography. Vol 25(2): 198-215.
Black, R. 2003. "Breaking the Convention: Researching the 'Illegal' Migration of Refugees to Europe." Antipode. Vol 35(1): 34-54.
"Comparing Notes: Perspectives on Human Smuggling in Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands." 2006. International Migration. Vol 44(4): 39-58.
de Lange, A. 2007. "Child Labour Migration and Trafficking in Rural Burkina Faso." In: International Migration Vol 45(2): 147-167.
Salt, J. and Stein, J. 1997."Migration as a Business: The Case of Trafficking," In: International Migration, Vol. 35(4): 467-491.
Schindlmayr, T. 2003. "Sovereignty, Legal Regimes, and International Migration." In: International Migration. Vol 41(2): 109-123.
Turton, D. 2001. "Who is a Forced Migrant?" pp. 13-35. In: Development-Induced Displacement, ed. Chris de Wet. New York: Berghahn Books.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning outcomes
This module will enable students to:
• identify the major trends in international migration in the 20th and 21st centuries
• be familiar with salient typologies of migration, for example, labour migration, trafficking and smuggling and forms of forced migration including those involving refugees and internally displaced persons
• explain differing patterns of migration across the globe and the drivers behind these patterns
• know the roles of key `actors' including the state, the host societies, immigrant populations and sending countries
• discuss in a reasoned manner the relevance of (lack of) immigration control for the sovereignty of the nation-state
• understand the crucial human rights differences between trafficking and smuggling and the implications of this distinction for legislators and law enforcement

The intended generic learning outcomes and, as appropriate, their relationship to programme learning outcomes
The module is intended to contribute to students' ability to:
1. Conduct effective in-depth, independent research into a particular problem
2. Synthesize and analyse disparate material
3. Apply theoretical concepts to case studies
4. Analyse case studies in an interdisciplinary manner, applying appropriate theoretical concepts
5. Think clearly about reading material and discussion and to express reasoned arguments verbally in a seminar setting
6. Develop logical arguments based upon sound reasoning and understanding of the material and express these arguments in a written format

By helping students to progress towards these generic learning outcomes, the module contributes to achieving the general aims of our taught postgraduate programmes, which aim to
• provide students with an advanced training in their disciplines
• develop the students' transferable skills emphasizing research skills, analytical and conceptual skills, independent work and self-organisation

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