Migration: Conflict, the State and Human Rights - POLI9410

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


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).


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 178
Total study hours: 200


International Migration MA

Method of assessment

Presentation (10%)
Essay 5000 words (90%)

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Stephen Castles and Mark J. Miller The Age of Migration (3rd, 4th or 5th edition) Palgrave Macmillan)

Migration: the COMPAS Anthology (2014)

Marie-Bénédicte Dembour (2015) When Humans Become Migrants Study of the European Court of Human Rights with an Inter-American Counterpoint

Alexander Betts and Paul Collier (2015) Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System

Ruben Andersson (2014) Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe

Bridget Anderson (2013) Us and Them?: The Dangerous Politics of Immigration Control

Julia O'Connell Davidson (2015) Modern Slavery: The Margins of Freedom

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. identify the major trends in international migration in the 20th and 21st centuries (A1);

2. 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 (A1);

3. explain differing patterns of migration across the globe and the drivers behind these patterns (A2);

4. know the roles of key `actors' including the state, the host societies, immigrant populations and sending countries (A1);

5. discuss in a reasoned manner the relevance of (lack of) immigration control for the sovereignty of the nation-state (A1).

6. understand the crucial human rights differences between trafficking and smuggling and the implications of this distinction for legislators and law enforcement (A1);

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Conduct effective in-depth, independent research into a particular problem (B1-6, D2);

2. Synthesize and analyse disparate material (D4-5);

3. Apply theoretical concepts to case studies (C1-3);

4. Analyse case studies in an interdisciplinary manner, applying appropriate theoretical concepts (C3);

5. Think clearly about reading material and discussion and to express reasoned arguments verbally in a seminar setting (D1);

6. Develop logical arguments based upon sound reasoning and understanding of the material and express these arguments in a written format (A3-6, D4).


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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