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Law and the Framing of Migrants and Migration

Explore how discourses and law frame migrants and migration and whether the notion of migration crisis is justified.

343 enrolled on this course

Law and the Framing of Migrants and Migration

343 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Introductory level

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  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

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Examine how terminology affects public opinions on migrants

Civil war, violence, political instability and other reasons force millions of people to migrate every year, often in perilous conditions, often having no option but to put their trust in smugglers or traffickers who profit from their pain.

On this course, you’ll delve into the history of migration and why people move, before looking at the terminology that’s used to describe migrants and how that can affect narratives surrounding migration.

Investigate sources of international migration law

Migration is mainly governed by national immigration laws, but behind them sits a set of international legal instruments.

Can the law really make a difference in the complex and intertwined story of modern migration, and does it exist to protect people or borders?

You’ll develop tools for critical analysis of migration, allowing you to consider the shortcomings of international migration law. Then you’ll look at sovereignty, what it is, and why it’s relevant to migration.

Analyse media depictions of migration and migrants

The way the media frames migration has a huge effect on the public and even how laws are formulated. It’s important to understand how the media can influence the narrative around migrants and how they are treated.

You’ll assess the media’s role in migration, public opinion, and law by analysing its depictions of migrants and how it covers migration-related stories.

Understand what is meant by a migration crisis

This course will take you through a scholarly analysis of migrants as threats, which will bring you to a discussion on what is meant by the notion of migration crises. Using the tools you’ve developed, you’ll begin to critique the notion of migration crises, how this narrative has formed and the impact this has on migrants and migration.


  • Week 1

    Introduction to Critical International Migration Law

    • Welcome to Week 1

      In this activity, you will be introduced to the whole course, given details of the assessment and meet your colleagues. You will also be introduced to the topic for this week.

    • History of migration and why people move

      Politicians and the media often portray migration as new and threatening, and migrants as deviant. You will see that migration is not new and people move for many rational reasons. What has changed is states’ attitudes.

    • An examination of terminology

      Here you will examine terminology commonly employed to describe migrants and discover that many such terms are value judgments and are not grounded in law.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Here you will find some additional resources and an audio summarising the content of the week.

  • Week 2

    What constitutes international migration law?

    • Welcome to Week 2

      You will be introduced to the notion that law shapes the migrant experience and begin to think about the nature and sources of migration law.

    • Sovereignty and its impact on migrants and migration

      You will be introduced to the concept of state sovereignty and the impact the exercise of sovereignty has on migrants seeking asylum (a place of safety).

    • Three categories of migrant in treaty law

      You will examine three categories of migrants addressed in treaty law and assess the shortcomings of those treaties.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Here you will find some additional resources and an audio summarising the content of the week.

  • Week 3

    Discourses on migration

    • Welcome to Week 3

      Here you will be introduced to the week, you will engage in a series of polls, and begin to assess the impact that media reporting has on migration policy and law.

    • Depictions of migrants and migration

      Here you will start to dissect how the media and politicians depict migrants and migration. You will examine some newspaper headlines and stories as well as some photographs that often accompany the headlines.

    • Scholarly analysis of migrants as threats

      Here you will consider the characterisation of migrants as threats and engage with scholarly analysis of this characterisation.

    • Assignment: attitudes to migration

      In this activity you will undertake your own assignment, and reflect on the activity in a Discussion.

    • Weekly wrap up

      Here you will find repeat polls, additional resources and a summary of the week’s coverage.

  • Week 4

    Migration crises

    • Welcome to Week 4

      Here you will be introduced to the crisis framing of migration and start to examine the consequences of such a framing on migration law, migration policy and migrants themselves.

    • The meaning of crisis

      We will examine the meaning of crisis in the context of migration and we will investigate some possible causes of crisis.

    • The work done by “crisis”

      Here we will investigate the impact the crisis framing has on policy and law. We will also ask whether law has had a role in actually constructing crisis.

    • Weekly wrap-up

      Here you will find a repeated poll, a test, additional resources and a summary of the week’s coverage.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify sources of international migration law
  • Evaluate the ways the media and politicians shape the debates about migrants and migration
  • Develop tools to engage in a critical analysis of global migration
  • Engage in a critique about migration crises

Who is the course for?

This course has been designed for anyone looking to develop a critical understanding of migration laws. It will be of specific interest to people working for national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations involved in the field of migration, and also lawyers wanting to deepen their knowledge base.

If you want to develop your knowledge further, you may want to take these courses, from the same provider, that share the same overall learning outcomes:

Who will you learn with?

I am Senior Lecturer in Law at Kent Law School, University of Kent. I specialise in International Human Rights Law and International Migration Law.

Who developed the course?

The University of Kent

The University of Kent, the UK’s European university, is one of the country’s most dynamic universities. Established in 1965, it now has 19,850 students studying at its various campuses.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$244.99 for one whole year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$134/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 27 Jun 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 3 June 2024 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

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