SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Dr Paolo Novak

MSc, PhD (London)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Staff Silhouette
Department of Development Studies

Senior Lecturer in Development Studies

SOAS Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus

Academic Staff, Centre of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus

SOAS South Asia Institute

Academic Staff, SOAS South Asia Institute

Centre for the Study of Pakistan

Academic Staff, Centre for the Study of Pakistan

Labour, Movements and Development

Research Cluster Member

Neoliberalism, Globalisation, and States

Research Cluster Member

Dr Paolo Novak
Email address:
020 7898 4214
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Please book:


Paolo has degrees in Business and International Finance (Bocconi, Milan) and Development Studies
(SOAS) and has worked for brokerage firms, investment banks, NGOs and UNHCR, before joining


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Christian Sowa, The Accommodation of Migrants in Berlin: Exploring the City and Urban Transformations (Working Title)
  • Hassan Ould Moctar, EU Border Externalisation and the Postcolonial Conditioning of Contemporary Capitalism in Mauritania
  • Karen Schouw Iversen, Humanitarian Activist Citizens: Desplazado Protests and State Humanitarianism in Bogotá, Colombia


Paolo’s research is concerned with the conceptual and contextual relation between borders,
migration and development, and focuses on the contested geographies produced by such relation
(territoriality, scale; spatialities and temporalities of borders and migration; legal/policy labels and
political subjectivities); and on processes of legal and institutional change associated to it (refugee
law and refugee regime; asylum reception systems; humanitarianism). Paolo has conducted field
research in Peshawar (Pakistan), Macerata (Italy), Meghalaya (India), Cairo (Egypt). His current
research project is titled: “Asylum seeker’s reception: taxonomies and location”.


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

Available for
Regional Expertise
  • South Asia
Country Expertise
  • India



Novak, Paolo (2021) 'Deservingness and uneven geographies of asylum accommodation'. Social Policy and Society, (20) 3, pp 452-463.

Novak, Paolo (2019) 'The neoliberal location of asylum'. Political Geography, (70), pp 1-13.

Novak, Paolo (2017) 'Back to Borders'. Critical Sociology, (43) 6, pp 847-864.

Novak, Paolo (2017) 'Placing Borders in Development'. Geopolitics, (21) 3, pp 483-512.

Novak, Paolo (2015) 'Refugee Status as a Productive Tension'. Transnational Legal Theory, (6) 2, pp 287-311.

Novak, Paolo (2013) 'The Success of NGOs'. Development in Practice, (23) 7, pp 872-888.

Novak, Paolo (2011) 'The Flexible Territoriality of Borders'. Geopolitics, (16) 4, pp 741-767.

Novak, Paolo (2011) 'The Institutional Incompleteness of Empire'. Central Asian Survey, (30) 3-4, pp 389-406.

Novak, Paolo (2007) 'Accountability to Whom?'. Economic and Political Weekly, (42) 30, pp 3172-77.

Novak, Paolo (2007) 'Place and Afghan Refugees: a Contribution to Turton'. Journal of Refugee Studies, (20) 4, pp 551-578.

Book Chapters

Novak, Paolo (2018) 'Borders, distance, politics'. In: Paasi, Anssi and Prokkola, Eeva-Kaisa and Saarinen, Jarko and Zimmerbauer, Kaj, (eds.), Borderless Worlds for Whom?: Ethics, Moralities and Mobilities. London: Routledge, pp 49-62.

Novak, Paolo (2017) 'Border rhythms'. In: Mavroudi, Elizabeth and Page, Ben and Christou, Anastasia, (eds.), Timespace and International Migration. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp 61-76.

Novak, Paolo (2015) 'Refugees and Empire'. In: Ness, Immanuel and Cope, Zak, (eds.), The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. Houndsmills: Palgrave MacMillan.

Novak, Paolo (2014) 'Tracing connections and its politics'. In: Alff, Henryk and Benz, Andreas, (eds.), Tracing Connections: Explorations of Spaces and Places in Asian Contexts. Berlin: VWB.

Novak, Paolo (2013) 'Political economy of refugees'. In: Ness, Immanuel, (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.

Novak, Paolo (2007) 'Chromatic Boundaries'. In: Narula, Monica and Sengupta, Shuddhabrata and Bagchi, J. and Sundaram, R., (eds.), SARAI Reader 07: Frontiers. Delhi: Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Book Reviews

Novak, Paolo (2015) 'Review of: 'New Perspectives on International Migration and Development' by Cortina Jeronimo and Ochoa-Reza Enrique. New York: Columbia University Press 2013.'. Journal of Global Faultlines, (2) 2, pp 58-60.

Novak, Paolo (2009) 'Review of: Social Networks and Migration in Wartime Afghanistan. By Kristian Berg Harpviken. Houndmills: Palgrave, 2009.'. Journal of Refugee Studies, (22) 4, pp 529-530.


This list was last generated on Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 21:23 Europe/London.