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
Refugee economies in Uganda: creating new market-based opportunities
Survival migration: refugee or voluntary migrant?
Refugee youth: agency and aspiration
The politics of the Syrian refugee crisis
To what extent is UNHCR's intervention in Afghanistan shaped by incentives in the humanitaria...
New dynamics of international refugee law
Refugee economies
Migration and humanitarian aid along the migration corridor in Mexico
Rethinking refuge


Isabelle Lemay
Research Student
Caroline Nalule
Research Officer, Refugees are Migrants: Refugee Mobility, Recognition and Rights
Maggie Neil
Research Student
Naohiko Omata
Associate Professor
Brian Oosthuizen
Research Student
Derya Ozkul
Research Officer, Refugees are Migrants: Refugee Mobility, Recognition and Rights
Blair Peruniak
Research Student
Matthew Porges
Research Assistant, Re-imagining Development for Mobile and Marginalised Peoples
Samuel Ritholtz
Research Student


23 Apr, 2020
New article by Anne Irfan explores relationship between PLO and UNRWA
17 Apr, 2020
New special issue co-edited by Evan Easton-Calabria examines refugee self-reliance
16 Apr, 2020
New book by Tom Scott-Smith studies the history of hunger relief
08 Apr, 2020
Alexander Betts named Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences
07 Apr, 2020
New RSC book analyses how refugees can act as providers of social protection
30 Mar, 2020
New article from RSC explores role of mayors in response to refugee arrivals in Turkey and Lebanon
26 Mar, 2020
Tom Scott-Smith named one of ten new BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers
05 Mar, 2020
Latest issue of Forced Migration Review on 'Cities and towns' now online
17 Jan, 2020
New book by Robin Cohen, Nicholas Van Hear sets out proposal for transnational polity for refugees
18 Dec, 2019
New article by Matthew Gibney explores history of banishment


23 Oct, 2019
'Nowhere to Go: How Governments in the Americas Are Bungling the Migration Crisis'. Alexander Betts writes for Foreign Affairs
27 Sep, 2019
'Anthropology at, and of, the Limit'. Ruben Andersson responds as part of an Allegralab book symposium about his new book 'No Go World'
13 Sep, 2019
'The Cobra Effect: “Fighting” Migration Gets Europe Nowhere'. Ruben Andersson interviewed about his new book 'No Go World' in the Green European Journal
24 Jun, 2019
'How the West is withdrawing into a bunker of its own making'. Ruben Andersson writes for The Conversation
14 Jun, 2019
'How fear is redrawing our maps and infecting our politics'. Ruben Andersson discusses his new book on The Majority Report
29 Apr, 2019
'Sex discrimination in British immigration law is likely to get worse after Brexit'. Catherine Briddick writes for the Conversation
28 Mar, 2019
'"Self-reliance" for refugees? Badly handled it can make matters worse'. Evan Easton-Calabria writes for The Conversation
27 Feb, 2019
'Why Venezuelan migrants need to be regarded as refugees'. Alexander Betts writes for IRIN
21 Feb, 2019
'Why Sajid Javid’s decision on Shamima Begum cheapened British citizenship'. Matthew Gibney writes for Metro
18 Dec, 2018
'Inaccuracies spreading about UN migration pact'. Cathryn Costello contributes to Full Fact article on UN global compact on migration