Human Security, Forced Migration and Humanitarian Action

Lecture, Seminar
Lecturer(s) Maria Pisani
  • Course description

    This study-unit will comprise of a series of lectures that will explore a range of social science perspectives on the core issues related to the study of forced migration and provide a thematic analysis of debates related to forced migration. Highlighting the link between theory and practice, with an emphasis on praxis, the lectures will include empirical case studies as a tool for providing the space for critical engagement and reflexivity. The study-unit will also include national and international perspectives (including for example policy development, national and personal security, personal narratives) in relation to the field of forced migration and forced migrants.
  • Learning outcomes

    1. Knowledge & Understanding:
    By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
    - Understand the field of forced migration and understand the link between theory and policy issues in forced migration;
    - Situate the study of forced migration within the discipline of international relations;
    - Critically engage with the concept of ‘human security’ within the context of forced migration;
    - Understand the institutional response to forced migration and how practice has developed and continues to evolve;
    - Understand forced migration as a lived experience.
    2. Skills:
    By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
    - Engage in a debate on theories of forced migration and relate to policy development;
    - Engage directly and competently with practitioners in the field of forced migration and humanitarian action;
    - Reflect on the gap between theory and current practice in forced migration and humanitarian action.
  • Teaching and learning methodology

    The aims of the study-unit are to:
    - Provide students with a foundation for developing critical insight into the field of forced migration, and consider its theoretical contributions to the study of International Relations, with a special focus on human security and humanitarian action;
    - Provide a thematic analysis of debates related to forced migration, including inter alia asylum, protection and durable solutions, the UNHCR mandate, mixed flows, humanitarian action;
    - Look at the geopolitics of ‘illegal’ immigration, the impact of restrictive immigration policies in the EU, and reflection on local policy development and practice;
    - Consider the institutional response to forced migration and explore the humanitarian function of IOs, INGOs and NGOs in protecting refugees and IDPs;
    - Provide students with a ‘bottom up’ perspective, with an emphasis on the lived experiences of ‘refugees’ and the forced migratory experience;
    - Provide students with a space to consider, and give importance to the ‘refugee’ experience, and to critically engage with the victim/agent dichotomy.
  • Assessment methods and criteria

    Assignment: 100% weight, resit availability present
  • Required readings

    Main Text/s:
    - Anderson, B., & Andrijasevic, R. (2008). Sex, slaves and citizens:the politics of anti-trafficking. Soundings (40) , 135-145
    - Betts, A. (2009). Forced Migration and Global Politics. Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell
    - Castles, C., & Miller, M. (2003). The Age of Migration: International Population Movements inthe Modern world. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan
    - Castles, S. (2003 Vol. 77). Towards a Sociology of Forced Migration and Social Transformation. Sociology , 13-34
    - Frost, M. (2003). Thinking ethically about refugees: a case for the transformation of global governance. In E. Newman, & J. van Selm, Refugees and Forced Displacement: international Security, Human Vulnerability, and the State (pp. 109-`129). Tokyo: United Nations University Press
    - Gerard, A., & Pickering, S. (2012). The Crime and Punishment of Somali Women’s Extra-Legal Arrival in Malta. British Journal of Criminology
    - Koser, K. (2005). Irregular migration, state security and human security. London: GCIM
    - Pisani, M. (2011). There's an elephant in the room, and she's 'rejected' and black: observations on rejected female asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa in Malta. Open Citizenship, Spring , 24-51
    - Van Hear, N., & McDowell, C. (2006). Catching fire:containing forced migration in a volatile world. Lanham: Lexington Books
    - Xuereb, P. G. (2012). Migration and Asylum in Malta and the European Union: Rights and Realities. Malta: Malta University Press.
    Supplementary readings:
    - UNHCR. The State of the World’s Refugees: In Search of Solidarity. 2012. Geneva: UNHCR.

Last updated: 16 January 2018

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