Conceptual problems in forced migration
Dawn Chatty, Philip Marfleet
Scholars have made rapid progress in establishing the field of Refugee Studies/Forced Migration Studies over the past 30 years. It has emerged from both the moral imperative of ameliorating the suffering of the displaced and from academic interests of scholars considering involuntary migration from the perspectives of sociology, geography, political science and international relations, anthropology, and international law. In spite of this broad interest, or perhaps because of it, key conceptual issues have seldom been addressed, with the result that there is a lack of clarity on matters of fundamental importance. Greater awareness of general theory and greater analytical rigour is required urgently on issues that bear upon forced migration. This special issue is the outcome of a cooperative effort to initiate discussion on some of these problems. In 2011 a special seminar series was organized by the University of Oxford and the University of East London to consider a series of inter-related issues: problems of choice and constraint, forced migrants and the nation-state, and refugees and history.