Global Forced Migration

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Development Studies

Module overview

This module is designed as an introduction, mainly through case studies, to the basic concepts, issues and problems which pertain to refugees and other forced migrants. It combines legal, theoretical and policy approaches.

The module is structured in three broad sections. In the first section, key underlying questions are considered: Who is a refugee? What is the scale of the global refugee crisis? How well equipped is the international refugee regime to cope with the changing nature of the crisis? And how appropriate are existing theoretical frameworks for analysing refugees? The second section considers the 'refugee cycle' of displacement, exile and return. It incorporates a range of systematic themes including gender, conflict and human rights, and draws upon a wide range of contemporary case studies, mainly from Africa and Asia.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module


At the end of this module a student should be able to demonstrate:

  • Knowledge of the basic concepts, issues and problems which pertain to the study of refugees and other forced migrants
  • A critical understanding of refugee definitions and other displacement categories and their effects
  • A critical understanding of international legal protection for refugees and humanitarian and development aid frameworks, apparatuses and policies in assistance to refugees and the displaced
  • Knowledge and understanding of the political, economic, social and cultural impact that migrant communities are having in a world of global movement
  • Familiarity with theoretical debates relevant to refugeehood and displacement including the changing meaning and crises of citizenship, the shortcomings of the universal human rights framework, the changing character of states, governance, sovereignty and identity within a global context
  • A critical appreciation of the political, economic, social and cultural dynamics and experiences of displacement, the consequences of exile and the past and current state of durable solutions offered by the international refugee regime and the relation of these dynamics to other political developments such as conflict, intervention and peace processes
  • The ability to support analysis of these issues with reference to developing world and European examples and case studies




Teaching will take the form of a two hour lecture and a one hour tutorial per week.


Method of assessment


One essay 2200 word essay worth 30% of the final mark, one 800 word blog post worth 20% of the final mark, and one two hour exam worth 50% of the final mark. Resubmission of coursework regulations apply to this module.


Suggested reading

  • Journal of Refugee Studies
  • International Migration
  • International Migration Review
  • Forced Migration Review
  • International Journal of Refugee Law
  • A Ager (ed.) (1999) Refugees: Perspectives on the Experience of Forced Migration London Pinter
  • B S Chimni (ed.) (2000) International Refugee Law : A Reader Sage Publications
  • Gibney, M (2004) The Ethics and Politics of Asylum: Liberal Democracy and the Responses to Refugees Cambridge University Press
  • Hyndman, J. (2000) Managing Displacement , University of Minnesota Press
  • Kushner, T. and Knox, K. (1999) Refugees In An Age Of Genocide: Global, National And Local Perspectives During The Twentieth Century , Frank Cass, London
  • Marfleet, P (2006) Refugees in a Global Era Palgrave Macmillan
  • Steiner N, Gibney M, Loescher G (eds), (2003) Problems of Protection: The UNHCR, Refugees and Human Rights Routledge
  • Valentine Daniel E, Knudsen J (eds.) (1996), Mistrusting Refugees University of California Press
  • Zolberg, A. and Benda, P. (eds) (2001) G lobal Migrants, Global Refugees , Berghahn
  • Zolberg, A., Suhrke, A., Aguayo, S. (1989) Escape from violence: conflict and the refugee. OUP: New York.

(Study pack available.)


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