Wrapping up the course

Congratulations for completing this course! It is now time to recap some of the key points we have covered over the past three weeks.

In week 1, by way of introduction to the course, we defined some key categories – first and foremost those of ‘migrant’, ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’ – and considered the significance of common adjectives such as ‘irregular’ and ‘illegal’. We underlined the need for accuracy when we use terms in order to be in a better position to build a reasoned and measured discussion about migration. At the same time, we emphasised the importance of paying attention to how apparently distinct categories can appear to become blurred: for instance the fact that migration may often be the result of a combination of ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ reasons, or that labour migrants and asylum seekers may take the same migratory routes because there are no other alternatives.

We ended the week by looking at our first case study: the relocation of Syrian refugees in the Middle East. As well as providing insights into the series of issues and problems that refugees and host countries face, we also shed different light on an international crisis that is commonly viewed from a European perspective.

In week 2 we focused on the question of irregular maritime migration in Europe as well as EU responses to the rise in number of arrivals, particularly from 2015 onwards. We considered how migrant flows across the Mediterranean Sea have changed over the last decade according to different circumstances in sending and transit countries, as well as to shifts in approaches to migration management on the part of the European Union. Alongside the EU’s attempts to control and reduce the number of undocumented people arriving on its southern shores, we discussed the parallel evolution of a common EU asylum system, which, based on the guiding principle of solidarity, has recently sought to relocate and resettle asylum seekers in Greece and Italy among other members states.

Finally, in week 3 we continued to combine a double focus on migration and policy as we examined case studies from around the world, from Mexican migration to the United States to female migration in South America, from the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh to the offshoring policy in Australia. By presenting examples from across the globe, we aimed to raise a range of issues concerning contemporary international migration but also to indicate how policy responses to human mobility and the capacity to manage migration are certainly the result of political decisions but also change quite markedly when one switches between the Global North (or West) and Global South (or ‘developing world’).

If you have enjoyed this course, do consider enrolling on the second complementary course: Why Do People Migrate? Theories!

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Why Do People Migrate? Facts

European University Institute (EUI)