Migration and Refugees in a Global Context

Migration in its various forms has become a central feature of international development in its economic, political, legal, social and cultural dimensions. Oxford now leads the world in research on this vital subject.

The department has recognised strength in the fields of forced migration and migration studies, including internal and international displacement driven by conflict, poverty and insecurity. In a world where almost all refugees come from the global South, our research engages in the analysis, modelling and understanding of migration flows, both between the global South and the global North, and within regions of the global South.

Along with individual faculty members, the research group working on this theme is the internationally renowned Refugee Studies Centre, winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2002. Research in the department has particularly focussed on Africa, the Middle East and Europe and has been influential in its exploration of the economic impact of forced migration on host communities; urbanisation, inclusion and the governance of migration; citizenship, deportation and refugee law; humanitarianism and forced migration; refugee self-reliance and agency; and the history, development, and consequences of border control regimes.


Photo: Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia commons

In the media
International migration of medical doctors: trends, drivers and policies
The liberal state and the expulsion of members: banishment, denationalisation and deportation
Irregular migrant children and the right to education
How the 'real' refugee is created and contested: inequalities, governmentality and agenc...
The end of the railway line: Malian women, mobility and trade in Dakar
Financial constraints, development, and migration: the role of social policy and financial develop...
The remittance debate reconsidered: Reverse remittance practice among Ghanaian migrants in the UK...
Humanitarian nutrition
Emergency shelter


Alessandro Corso
ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow
Cathryn Costello
Professor of Refugee and Migration Law
Faith Cowling
Research Student
Stephen Damianos
Research Student
Imogen Dobie
Research Student
Evan Easton-Calabria
Senior Research Officer
Matthew J Gibney
Elizabeth Colson Professor of Politics and Forced Migration and Director, Refugee Studies Centre
Marie Godin
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Stephen Hunt
Research Officer


20 Jun, 2021
OUP publishes Oxford Handbook of International Refugee Law co-edited by Cathryn Costello
30 May, 2021
New article co-authored by Loren Landau examines informal migration and Johannesburg’s socio-spatial transformation
28 May, 2021
Gil Loescher's final book 'Refugees: A Very Short Introduction' published
20 May, 2021
New article from RSC explores international agencies' blindness to refugee cross-border activity
13 May, 2021
Tom Scott-Smith explores 'social history of soup' in essay for BBC radio
27 Apr, 2021
Alexander Betts publishes new book on unlocking potential contribution of refugees
19 Apr, 2021
New article by Alexander Betts examines political history of Uganda’s ‘progressive’ refugee policies
09 Apr, 2021
New article co-authored by Olivier Sterck measures effect of shift to refugee self reliance model
19 Mar, 2021
New article co-authored by Loren Landau reflects on 'timespace trap' in Europe's response to African migration
09 Mar, 2021
Latest issue of Forced Migration Review with focus on mental health now online


17 Mar, 2021
'The imagined immorality of refuge'. Hanno Brankamp writes for Africa is a Country
24 Nov, 2020
'Tom Scott-Smith on the history of famine relief'. Tom Scott Smith spoke to Helen Carr as part of the Hidden Histories series
22 Sep, 2020
'Cash transfers can help refugees, but they also carry risks. Insights from Kenya'. Cory Rodgers, Jade Siu and Olivier Sterck write for the Conversation
20 Sep, 2020
'Migrants crossing the English Channel in dinghies – stupid, dangerous, and criminal acts?'. Dawn Chatty writes for Culturico
19 Jun, 2020
'Making home on the move'. DPhil Shivangi Kaushik writes about 'fictive kinships' and why some internal migrants in India might have elected not to return 'home' during the pandemic
20 May, 2020
'Many refugees living in Nairobi struggle to survive because of COVID-19'. Naohiko Omatta writes for the Conversation on the ways in which the pandemic are disrupting refugees' ability to support themselves
04 May, 2020
'Cash-based food assistance for refugees: lessons for the COVID-19 response'. Cory Rodgers, Alexander Betts, Olivier Sterck, Jade Siu and Maria Stierna of the RSC discuss cash-based food assistance for refugees, and the unintended consequence of debt accumulation
28 Apr, 2020
'Why refugees are an asset in the fight against coronavirus'. Alexander Betts, Evan Easton-Calabria and Kate Pincock write for the Conversation on the how the work of refugee-led organisations is now more relevant than ever to respond to the consequences of COVID-19
14 Apr, 2020
'COVID-19 has Kenyan refugee camp on edge'. Dr Cory Rodgers wrote in The New Humanitarian on preparations at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya ahead of a potential outbreak of the virus
08 Apr, 2020
'The Marooned Malaise: Covid-19 and Africa’s stolen futures'. Prof Loren Landau reflects on what the Covid-19 containment means for sub-Saharan African imaginations and politics