Migration, Refugees and citizenship in a Globalised World

Course content


Human migration has shaped the world we live in and, despite contemporary efforts to control the movement of people, there is every reason to believe that migration will continue to shape human communities and world politics in the future. The massive movement of people across national boundaries is fuelled by a host of powerful forces, including: refugees whom states are obligated to protect, rising demand for both skilled and unskilled labour in aging industrial societies; a decreased capacity or willingness to control the movement of people in a globalised world economy; and the continued upheaval and lack of opportunity in large parts of the developing countries. Taken together, the forces that favour migration might seem to resemble the proverbial irresistible force.  At the same time, immigration is accompanied by a host of social, economic and political tensions. Migrants are blamed for increased crime, radicalisation, terrorism and social disintegration. Immigration provokes fears of reduced wages and increased competition for jobs, social services, and preservation of national cohesion. Above all migration is viewed by many as a threat to national sovereignty and national identity. As a result, the past two decades has witnessed fundamental changes in immigration policy, and sharp upsurge of xenophobic parties and movements around the world, most notably in Europe. At present immigration/refugee is amongst one of the most hotly contested issues around the world and also has become a priority issue in Europe.



This module will examine international migration and refugee movements within the context of the on-going processes of globalisation, uneven development, conflict, and human rights abuses as some of the factors that precipitate global migration. The current “migration crisis” is examined through analysis of immigration's impact on the nation state and society, and the response by the state and supranational institution (EU) to this challenge in terms of border control policies. Students will learn to assess the dynamics of international migration and integration in a comparative perspective, and to identify general and specific theories pertaining to these dynamics and stemming from various academic disciplines. Students will be asked to apply these theories to concrete case(s) from readings and/or their own case, and in doing so, putting theoretical notions to an empirical test


Lecture Topics (Tentative)

Week 1 Introductory Overview

Week 2 why people move: theoretical perspective on international migration

Week 3 The Origins and Trajectory of Post-WWII Immigration

Week 4 The International Refugee Regime

Week 5 Explaining the Crisis of the European Migration and Asylum Regime

Week 6 The struggle for coherence in EU migration governance

Week 7 The Ethics of migration control: open border/closed border debate

Week 8 Integration policies and “National models”

Week 9 The Multiculturalism debate

Week 10 Transnational migration and diasporic communities

Week 11 The Securitisation of Migration

Week 12 Migration and the rise of the populist radical right 

Week 13 Immigration and [new] Racism in Europe

Week 14 The evolution of Danish immigration policy after World War II


Elective course

Course package (MSc Curriculum 2015):

Knowledge, organisation and politics


The teaching in spring 2021 will be online until the 1. of April due to the Covid19 situation.

As soon as it is permitted and justifiable, it is up to the individual lecturer whether to transition to a blended format or wish to continue with full online teaching for the rest of the semester.

The individual lecturer will inform you of the above choice in the Absalon room for each course.

Courses with oral exams will be held online if the relevant restrictions have not been lifted at least four weeks before the individual exam. This will be notified in Absalon.

Courses with written exams will not experience any changes in relation to the normal exam form.


Learning outcome


By  the  end  of  the  course,  students should be able to:

  •  Acquire an in-depth overview over historical and contemporary human migration processes, their historical, social and political background and consequences for societies and individuals;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the transformation of international migration and refugees in a context of globalisation;
  • Discuss the fundamental theoretical approaches informing international migration and refugees in an interdisciplinary perspective;
  • Analyze the international legal norms concerning refugee protection including relevant norms of customary international law and, in particular, the standards found in the 1951 Geneva Convention, the temporary and complementary protection, of European and other regional norms;
  • Evaluate philosophical and theoretical arguments (as roted in different ethical perspectives) regarding immigrant admissions policies and expectations for integration/assimilation after arrival;
  • Explain the processes of immigrant integration, with nuances pertaining to destination country contexts;
  • Critically and systematically evaluate, the claim or debates of the failure of the integration, the retreat of multiculturalism, the growth of racism and xenophobia, and the ways migration and asylum issues have become securitised;
  • Demonstrate an ability to think independently, write and participate in critical discussion on international migration and refugees in EU.



Students should also have;

  • Developed and refined their analytical skills with respect to the articulation of theories of international migration and refugees and policy responses to migration and refugees;
  • Developed their capacity for the critical assessment of information, ideas and argument about the nature and patterning of current international migration and refugees in EU;
  • Developed the ability to evaluate critically public and policy debates about refugees and asylum seekers, especially in Europe;
  • Developed independent learning and research skills and be able to prepare for seminars and to undertake literature searches in the library and on the internet;
  • Developed their personal management skills with respect to their work in independent study and demonstrate capacity to conduct critical and analytical writing.



Students should also have;

  •  A comprehensive knowledge of the roots and effects of contemporary international migration and refugees and competency to independently initiate assessment and analysis activities relating to international migration and refugee studies;
  • Understands and is able to navigate in political, legal, social and cultural aspects of migration and integration as well as to propose solutions to challenges to which migration gives rise; and to use these competences in a vocational setting to address, explain and manage issues related to immigration and integration


Two hours lecture per week. Teaching will take the form of lectures, student presentations and class discussions based on the assigned readings

Syllabus will be available before the classes begins. Also available upon request.

Open to all students. There are no prerequisites, other than a keen interest in Migration and Refugee Studies

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester

Feedback on research proposal. To provide you with an opportunity to develop the topic identified in your initial research proposal into a comprehensive, academic paper.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Free written take-home essays are assignments for which students define and formulate a problem within the parameters of the course and based on an individual exam syllabus. The free written take-home essay must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Please see the learning outcome.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 97
  • Exercises
  • 41
  • Exam
  • 40
  • English
  • 206