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


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
Loren Landau
Professor of Migration and Development
Diletta Lauro
Research Student


25 Jan, 2021
New article by Tom Scott-Smith explores politics of humanitarian architecture
18 Nov, 2020
Anne Irfan wins Alixa Naff Article Prize for paper on Palestinian refugee education
13 Nov, 2020
'Shelter Without Shelter' wins Best Research Film in AHRC awards
06 Nov, 2020
Documentary Shelter Without Shelter shortlisted for AHRC film award
01 Oct, 2020
Tom Scott-Smith awarded Leverhulme Research Fellowship
22 Sep, 2020
New article co-authored by Marie Godin explores use of digital devices by migrants in transit
21 Sep, 2020
New article co-authored by Alexander Betts and Evan Easton-Calabria explores provision of assistance by refugees
24 Aug, 2020
New article by Catherine Briddick evaluates residence rights of migrant victims of domestic violence in Europe
20 Aug, 2020
Anne Irfan wins Contemporary Levant's Best Paper Award for 2020
03 Jun, 2020
New book co-edited by Tom Scott-Smith explores refugee shelter


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
31 Mar, 2020
'"Unprecedented" pandemic and the crisis of mobility in India'. DPhil Vyoma Dhar Sharma writes for the COMPAS blog
30 Mar, 2020
'The norms that hold together international refugee protection are in a perilous state'. Writing for World Politics Review, Matt Gibney asks how much has really changed since the 2015 refugee crisis
20 Mar, 2020
‘"Take me home": The coronavirus virus and panic mobility'. Robin Cohen writes about how humans can act as unwitting bearers of lethal viruses by moving rapidly away from known sites of infection
20 Dec, 2019
'Inclusive energy solutions in refugee camps'. DPhil Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen writes for Nature Energy
18 Nov, 2019
'The West’s Obsession With Border Security Is Breeding Instability'. Ruben Andersson and David Keen write for Foreign Policy magazine