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
An ethnography of policy stability, change and subversion in the distribution of asylum responsibi...
Understanding India’s emerging ‘rurbans’
Precarious politics: nationalism and pragmatism among Palestinian refugee youth
Creating a domestic refugee regime in Kenya: the transfer of the management of refugee affairs fro...
Aural borders, audible migrations: Sound and citizenship in Athens
Civil humanitarianism and the politics of refugee solidarity
Rethinking refuge
Refugees, social protection and digital technologies in times of the “refugee crisis”
Mobility, temporality, and Africa’s future politics


Maria Stierna
Research Assistant, RSC
Diana Volpe
Research Student
Emma Walker-Silverman
Research Student
Claire Walkey
Research Student
Roger Zetter
Professor Emeritus of Refugee Studies
Barbara Zeus
Research Student


18 Dec, 2019
New article by Matthew Gibney explores history of banishment
03 Dec, 2019
New article by Matthew Willner-Reid on UNHCR discourse and returning refugees in Afghanistan
15 Nov, 2019
New article by Tom Scott-Smith critiques Ikea’s ‘universal’ refugee shelter
06 Nov, 2019
RSC publishes report in Somali to aid dissemination to refugee and host communities
15 Oct, 2019
Latest issue of Forced Migration Review on 'Return' now online
07 Oct, 2019
Refugee Economies programme publishes four new reports
30 Aug, 2019
Cathryn Costello awarded title of Professor in 2019 Recognition of Distinction exercise
23 Jul, 2019
New report co-authored by Ruben Andersson explores impact of Europe’s outsourcing of migration controls
04 Jul, 2019
New special issue co-edited by Ruben Andersson explores return of ‘remoteness’
01 Jul, 2019
Forced Migration Review 61 on ethics now online


06 Jul, 2018
'Fear versus reality when it comes to migration'. Alexander Betts interviewed on CNN's Amanpour
27 Jun, 2018
'What Europe could learn from the way Africa treats refugees'. Alexander Betts writes for the Guardian
22 Feb, 2018
'Don’t Make African Nations Borrow Money to Support Refugees'. Alexander Betts writes for Foreign Policy
20 Feb, 2018
'Kenyan study sheds new light on gap between refugees and host communities'. Alexander Betts writes for The Conversation
06 Feb, 2018
'Is Turkey really facing an "exodus"? It's not that simple'. Emre Eren Korkmaz writes for The Conversation
21 Jan, 2018
'In an illiberal world order, we need new ways to defend human rights'. Alexander Betts writes for the Observer
15 Dec, 2017
The Jordan Compact – 'an extraordinary pilot from which there will be many lessons'. Alexander Betts quoted in Guardian about a scheme to facilitate employment of Syrian refugees in Jordan
09 Oct, 2017
'Refugees good for the economy'. Alexander Betts interviewed on ABC Radio National
05 Sep, 2017
'The Hazards of Giving Shelter'. 'Refuge' by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier reviewed in the Wall Street Journal
28 Aug, 2017
'The Western belief that refugees are a burden is the root cause of today’s global crisis'. Alexander Betts featured in Quartz