SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

From Theory to Practice and Back. Work Placements in Migration Research

Module Code:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 2

This module aims to bridge theory and practice in the fields of migration and humanitarian practice, addressed to  refugees and migrants.

It is available to students enrolled in the MA Migration and Diaspora Studies. The module will have a strong applied component and will develop collaborations with migrant and refugee organisations and research centres in London. The course is organised in the form of internships and independent study projects, along with some class seminars. Students will have to develop a short applied project, in collaboration with research organisations, as part of their coursework and assessment.


Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Bridge theories in the fields of migration, diaspora and refugees studies with practice
  • Demonstrate an ability to inform practice with theories of displacement, exile, and forced migration
  • Critically assess humanitarian discourses, projects and knowledge production
  • Analyse practitioners’ work on migrants and refugees within cultural, humanitarian and social fields
  • Analyse the ways in which humanitarian practices contribute to shape representations of refugees and to affect policy making and public opinion
  • Evaluate and develop projects addressed to migrants and refugees.



Suggested reading

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Elena. 2010. “’Ideal’ refugee women and gender equality mainstreaming in the Sahrawi refugee camps: "Good Practice" for whom?”. Refugee Survey Quarterly. 29, 64-84.

Salih, Ruba. 2013. “From Bare Lives to Political Agents: Palestinian Refugees as Avant-Garde”. Refugee Survey Quarterly. 32(2): 66-91

Anderson, Bridget. 2009. “What’s in a Name? Immigration Controls and Subjectivities: The Case of Au Pair and Domestic Worker Visa Holders in the UK”. Subjectivity. 29: 407-424.

De Genova, Nicholas. 2013. “Spectacles of migrant ‘illegality’: the scene of exclusion, the obscene of inclusion”. Ethnic and Racial Studies. 36(7): 1180-1198.

Gonzales, Roberto G. and Leo R. Chavez. 2012. “Awakening to a Nightmare: Abjectivity and Illegality in the Lives of Undocumented 1.5-Generation Latino Immigrants in the United States”. Current Anthropology. 53(3): 255–281.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules