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  • Gender and forced migration

    10 February 2014

    Book description: Refugee and Forced Migration Studies has grown from being a concern of a relatively small number of scholars and policy researchers in the 1980s to a global field of interest with thousands of students worldwide studying displacement either from traditional disciplinary perspectives or as a core component of newer programmes across the Humanities and Social and Political Sciences. Today the field encompasses both rigorous academic research which may or may not ultimately inform policy and practice, as well as action-research focused on advocating in favour of refugees' needs and rights. This authoritative Handbook critically evaluates the birth and development of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and analyses the key contemporary and future challenges faced by academics and practitioners working with and for forcibly displaced populations around the world. The 52 state-of-the-art chapters, written by leading academics, practitioners, and policymakers working in universities, research centres, think tanks, NGOs and international organizations, provide a comprehensive and cutting-edge overview of the key intellectual, political, social and institutional challenges arising from mass displacement in the world today. The chapters vividly illustrate the vibrant and engaging debates that characterize this rapidly expanding field of research and practice.

  • Refugee voices: exploring the border zones between states and state bureaucracies

    24 May 2016

    Settled people have been forced to move and nomads have been coerced into settling for as long as there has been history. Until the emergence of the Westphalian concept of the nation (where the state corresponded to the nation, groups of people united by language and culture), movement and mobility were largely recognized and accommodated. However, most contemporary academic disciplines as well as public institutions adopt a particular sedentist perspective on the nation-state. It is commonly recognized that people are displaced and move when political states collapse; they return when political security is restored. The liminal “state” outside the defined territory of the nation-state, where the displaced are found, is regarded as a threat to the world order.1 Predominant theory has been that people must be tied to territory, and thus the durable policy solutions advanced are frequently about resettlement. Reality does not support either current forced migration theory or humanitarian aid practices, however, and an epistemological change in thinking about forced migrants is urgently required. This means looking beyond the nationstate— the purview of most academic work in this area— and beyond traditional barriers between disciplines, to give cross-disciplinary attention to the self-expressions and experiences of forced migrants. Furthermore, the forced migrant creates a dilemma in how aesthetic expression is displayed, as their forms of expression cannot be squarely identified with one state or another. The dispossessed and displaced are changed by their experiences in the grey zones between states, and their migrations cannot be neatly catalogued as belonging to one state or culture.

  • Victims and transitional justice: voice, agency and blame

    27 January 2014

    This article explores the construction of victimhood in transitional societies. Drawn from fieldwork in a dozen jurisdictions as well as elements of criminological, feminist, sociological, philosophical and postcolonial literature, the article focuses in particular on how victimhood is interpreted and acted upon in transitional contexts. It explores the ways in which victims’ voice and agency are realised, impeded or in some cases co-opted in transitional justice. It also examines the role of blame in the construction of victimhood. In particular, it focuses upon the ways in which the importance of blame may render victimhood contingent upon ‘blamelessness’, encourage hierarchies between deserving and undeserving victims and require the reification of blameworthy perpetrators. The article concludes by suggesting that the increased voice and agency associated with the deployment of rights discourses by victims comes at a price – a willingness to acknowledge the rights and humanity of the ‘other’ and to be subject to the same respectful critical inquiry as other social and political actors in a post-conflict society.

  • Migrants at Work: Immigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law

    8 January 2015

    There is a highly significant and under-considered intersection and interaction between migration law and labour law. Labour lawyers have tended to regard migration law as generally speaking outside their purview, and migration lawyers have somewhat similarly tended to neglect labour law. The culmination of a collaborative project on 'Migrants at Work' funded by the John Fell Fund, the Society of Legal Scholars, and the Research Centre at St John's College, Oxford, this volume brings together distinguished legal and migration scholars to examine the impact of migration law on labour rights and how the regulation of migration increasingly impacts upon employment and labour relations. Examining and clarifying the interactions between migration, migration law, and labour law, contributors to the volume identify the many ways that migration law, as currently designed, divides the objectives of labour law, privileging concerns about the labour supply and demand over worker-protective concerns. In addition, migration law creates particular forms of status, which affect employment relations, thereby dividing the subjects of labour law. Chapters cover the labour laws of the UK, Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Germany, Sweden, and the US. References are also made to discrete practices in Brazil, France, Greece, New Zealand, Mexico, Poland, and South Africa. These countries all host migrants and have developed systems of migration law reflecting very different trajectories. Some are traditional countries of immigration and settlement migration, while others have traditionally been countries of emigration but now import many workers. There are, nonetheless, common features in their immigration law which have a profound impact on labour law, for instance in their shared contemporary shift to using temporary labour migration programmes. Further chapters examine EU and international law on migration, labour rights, human rights, and human trafficking and smuggling, developing cross-jurisdictional and multi-level perspectives. Written by leading scholars of labour law, migration law, and migration studies, this book provides a diverse and multidisciplinary approach to this field of legal interaction, of interest to academics, policymakers, legal practitioners, trade unions, and migrants' groups alike. [Receive a discount of 30% when you order from the OUP website using the promotional code ALAUTH16.]

  • Refugees’ Right to Work and Access to Labor Markets – An Assessment. Part II: Country Cases

    21 September 2016

    For refugees, the right to work is vital for reducing vulnerability, enhancing resilience, and securing dignity. Harnessing refugees’ skills can also benefit local economic activity and national development. But there are many obstacles. Based on a sample of 20 countries hosting 70 percent of the world’s refugees, this study investigates the role and impact of legal and normative provisions providing and protecting refugees’ right to work within the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as from the perspective of nonsignatory states. Three metrics analyze the principle determinants of the right to work and labor market access: refugee and employment law, policies and practices that facilitate or constrain the right to work, and mediating socioeconomic conditions. Overall the study finds remarkable diversity in legal provisions and constraints on refugees’ right to work. A restrictive approach to the right to work prevails, and most states are reluctant to ease these restrictions. The majority of refugees work in the informal sector, but under much less satisfactory and more exploitative conditions compared with nationals. Informal labor markets are also constrained in countries with fragile economies which often host large numbers of refugees. Based on its findings, the study concludes that more national and international coordination is required, multiple actors should share in the responsibility to deliver decent work, labor market policies as well as training and education should be harnessed to support sustainable livelihoods, and refugee social capital should be more effectively engaged.

  • Romani Mobilities in Europe: Multidisciplinary Perspectives

    3 September 2014

    On 14-15 January 2010, the RSC held an international conference on ‘Romani mobilities in Europe’, convened by Dr Nando Sigona and Professor Roger Zetter, which brought together Romani and non-Romani scholars, students, activists and practitioners from across a variety of disciplines. The main aim of the conference was to map ongoing empirical research on the issue of Roma migration and mobility and to open up the debate to alternative framings. This collection represents a selection of the papers presented at the conference.

  • Globalisation, humanitarianism and the erosion of refugee protection

    12 November 2013

    This paper was originally given as the first Harrell-Bond Lecture on 17 November 1999. It attempts to analyse the relationship between globalisation and humanitarianism to point to the underlying neo-liberal agenda and the selective concern with human rights. It examines the implications of new humanitarianism for the principles of refugee protection. It argues that the ideology of humanitarianism mobilises a range of meanings and practices to establish and sustain global relations of domination. In particular, humanitariansim manipulates the language of human rights to legitimise a range of dubious practices, including its selective defense. It concludes by offering some broad recommendations.

  • Refugees on screen

    12 November 2013

    This paper examines the representation of refugees in the media, paying special regard to the visual image. It begins by considering some contemporary images of refugees in the press and looks for patterns and common elements in their construction and usage. It then identifies some historical archetypes that are used to portray the subject of forced migration and initially suggests that many ‘standard’ images of refugees conform to patterns already established in Christian iconography. It suggests that viewers find accord with such images and that they may evoke a familiar story-line. The paper then considers the ways that the refugee story has been structured in fiction film and the news media. The paper concludes with the identification of key topics for future research into media images of refugees.

  • Children affected by armed conflict in South Asia: a review of trends and isues identified through secondary research

    12 November 2013

    This paper is a summary of the trends and issues identified through surveys of the impacts of conflict on children in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. This research was intended to identify existing information on war-affected and displaced children in these countries as well as the organisations that are working on these issues. It analyses both the macro conditions that contribute to political violence as well as the micro level impacts of these conflicts on children. Moreover, it points to knowledge gaps and methodological shortcoming. The findings will be used to establish priority areas for capacity-building and programmatic intervention, and key issues for policy and advocacy.

  • Addressing the root causes of forced migration: a European Union policy of containment?

    12 November 2013

    This paper examines whether or not European Union (EU) root causes policies are a desirable means to address appropriate ends. It analyzes the ways in which root causes policies interact with primary migration measures in its attempt to understand whether these policies seek to defend the right of people to remain in their country of origin by attenuating causes of departure on normative grounds or prevent and contain conflict to limit the influx of foreigners on its territory. It argues for a deepening and widening of the understanding of development, and for increased autonomy of human rights and conflict prevention policies. Moreover it suggests that the institutional structure of the EU and its multiple overlapping layers of competence and governance pose significant challenges to the effective and coherent co-ordination and implementation of root causes policies.

  • Governance

    26 May 2016

    This theme examines normative and political perspectives on refugees and forced migration. Our research projects focus on the roles of NGOs, international institutions and governments in responding to disasters. The wider effects of refugee and forced migrant flows are also examined in relation to domestic, regional and world politics.

  • Drivers

    26 May 2016

    This theme examines the causes and consequences of forced migration. Our research projects aim to improve the ways in which the causes of forced migration are understood and addressed, and to minimise the negative consequences and maximise the positive opportunities arising from specific contexts of displacement.

  • Experiences

    26 May 2016

    This theme examines forced migration from the perspective of affected people. Our participatory research aims to improve response to humanitarian crises and protracted refugee situations by increasing understanding of the lived experiences of refugees and refugee communities.