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International migration is an increasingly important part of world politics. However, despite its inherently political and inherently international nature, it remains relatively neglected by scholars of International Relations in comparison to other trans-boundary issue-areas. In particular, the international politics of migration remains under-theorized. Consequently, even basic International Relations concepts such as “power” and “interests” remain poorly developed in relation to migration. In order to address this gap, this article begins to develop the basis of a theory of the international politics of migration. It does so by laying out a series of heuristic frameworks for understanding the interests, interactions, and institutions that underlie state and interstate behaviour around international migration.

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Journal article


St Antony's College, University of Oxford

Publication Date



6 (2)


134 - 150