Human Security in Forced Migration - PO955

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2018-19
Brussels Autumn
View Timetable
7 20 (10) DR L Williams







The module will broadly discuss the impact of the experience of forced migration upon the individuals and communities involved, both in sending, receiving and transit countries. In this module, we understand forced migration to be a broad concept which includes conflict- and climate-event-generated refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), victims of trafficking, irregular migrants, unaccompanied minors, as well as political refugees, and others still. Migration is understood to include both South-North and South-South migration.

The module will be framed by the concept of human security, as well as theoretical and conceptual approaches to the overall well-being of forced migrants. Well-being so stated includes not only the granting of refugee status – often mistakenly seen as the end of the experience of forced migration – but broader social integration, inclusion and sense of belonging, as well as health and mental health. The concept of borders and border control, including the securitisation of borders and more conceptual borders, such as that between citizen and non-citizen, child and adult, forced and voluntary returnee, will be explored. These overarching concepts will then be maintained throughout the term via a discussion of topics such as human security, health and mental well-being and a variety of forced migrants including, but not restricted to asylum-seekers and refugees.


This module appears in:


Autumn term

Method of assessment

Students will be assessed through their performance on a research paper of 5000 words. This will account for 100% of the modules assessment method. The research paper will have a theoretical component, should develop a reasoned argument and will discuss a particular research question relevant to the course.

Indicative reading

Ager, A. (Ed) (1999). Refugees: Perspectives on the Experience of Forced Migration. London: Continuum Publishing Group.
Andersson, R. (2016). "Europe's failed fight against irregular migration: ethnographic notes on a counterproductive industry" Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies,
Betts, A. (2010).“Survival Migration: a New Protection Framework”, Global Governance, 16(3), 361-82.
Bracken, P. J. and Petty, C. Eds. (1998). Rethinking the Trauma of War. London: Free Association Books.
Department of Heath (2000) Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families, London, The Stationary Office
Carens, J. (2014) An overview of the ethics of immigration, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 17(5), 538-559
Castles, S (2003) 'Towards a Sociology of Forced Migration and Social Transformation’. Sociology. Vol 37(1): 13-34. BSA Publications Ltd.
Helman, C. G. (2000). Culture, Health and Illness. Oxford: Butterworth.
Lutz, L. (2010): Gender in the Migratory Process, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(10), 1647-1663
Majumder, P. et al. (2015). 'This doctor, I not trust him, I'm not safe': The perceptions of mental health and services by unaccompanied refugee adolescents.’ International Journal of Psychiatry, 61(2), 129-136
Methmann, C and A. Oels. (2015) “From ‘fearing’ to ‘empowering’ climate refugees: Governing climate-induced migration in the name of resilience”, Security Dialogue 46(1), 51-68.
O’Connell Davidson, J (2011).”Moving Children? Child trafficking, child migration and child rights” Critical Social Policy 31: 454 DOI: 10.1177/0261018311405014
Ong, A. (1995). “Making the Biopolitical Subject: Cambodian Immigrants, Refugee Medicine and Cultural Citizenship in California”. Social Science and Medicine, 40(9), 1243-1257.
Paris, R. (2001). “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?” International Security 26(2), 87-102.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
1. Have an advanced understanding of the concept of human security and how it applies in forced migration in a multi-disciplinary way;
2. Have an advanced understanding of forced migration typologies, including the migration cycle, mixed flows and the non-binary nature of migration;
3. Have an understanding of the nature and role of borders, border control and the securitisation of borders;
4. Identification of the effects on mental health of conflicts, including the impact of war, forced migration, internal displacement, torture, and trafficking
5. Have an advanced understanding of the provision of health and social care services for refugees and (forced) migrants and of the challenges forced migrants face in accessing the services available both during and after migration.

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