nl en

Elective: The Challenges of Globalization, Migration, and Cross-Border Mobility


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master’s programme Law and Society. Before attending the elective, students are advised to have attended at least 3 of the mandatory courses of the Master’s programme.


Migration and (cross-border) mobility are phenomena of all times, but within the recent decades of intensifying globalization and of increasing transnational interactions they have become more prominent. The so-called European refugee crisis is an important and recent illustration of the tragic and complex dynamics of migration and cross-border mobility. This course takes a broad socio-legal, multilevel and multidisciplinary theoretical view of the regulation of the movement of people around the world. It pays equal attention to South-South migration, South-North migration and patterns of migration where migrants do not cross an international border. The course begins with an examination of theoretical approaches to global movements of people, including the relationship and interaction between State sovereignty and citizenship, and individual rights. The course will then look at some of the root causes of cross-border mobility; why is it that people decide to move? Which options do they have as voluntary migrants, and which options as forced migrants? What is the difference between these categories and does it matter? And what implications does mobility have for ways in which people can obtain access to justice and other basic services? The course will look into these questions by exploring a number of topical cases of mobility, particularly in Africa and Asia. Both regions are traditionally known for high levels of mobility, both cross-border and within borders. The course will furthermore address ways in which both Western and non- Western countries address such movements of people, and with what outcomes, migration, religious and cultural diversity, and terrorism are being managed. Drawing on insights from theory and practice, the course will introduce students to contemporary debates, familiarize them with critical (human) rights issues, and appraise alternative possibilities of managing (cross-border) mobility and pluri-legal challenges. The course will make students better aware of the challenges of migration and cross-border mobility within a globalizing world, both for people on the move, for host communities, and for national governments and supranational institutions.

Course objectives

Objectives of the course

At the end of this course, students are able to:

  • Place current trends and ongoing issues in mobility into a wider historical perspective, especially in relation to a number of specific case studies;

  • Explain the concept of ‘mixed migration’ and set out the main drivers of migration by referring to both push and pull factors;

  • Explain the concept of ‘crimmigration’ in the light of an ongoing securitization of migration and reflect upon the consequences of the process of crimmigration for migrants as well as for the legitimacy of migration and border control;

  • Analyse the international, regional and national protection regimes for forced migrants and ways in which forced migrants, including refugees and IDPs navigate these regimes;

  • Carry out a desk study to investigate concrete examples of migrant’s mobilities and the challenges they come across during their journeys;

  • Carry out a critical analysis of the EU’s internal and external border politics, explain the pros and cons of crimmigration approaches towards mobility, and the impact this has on the mobility levels of migrants as well as on state-sovereignty.


The timetable of this course can be found here.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 9

  • Names of lecturers: Carolien Jacobs, Marlou Schrover, Nadia Sonneveld and Maartje van der Woude

  • Required preparation by students: reading assigned literature.


  • Number of (2 hour) seminars: 1

  • Names of instructors: Carolien Jacobs, Nadia Sonneveld and je van der Woude

  • Required preparation by students: preparing 3-minute individual pitch during which students will present their research question.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Evaluation is based on a written (take home) exam (50%) and a research paper (50%).

  • Writing of at least 3 reaction papers that are assessed with a ‘pass’ will be awarded with a bonus point (+0.25) for the final grade.

  • Both the written exam and research paper have to be passed with a grade of 5.5 or higher to pass the course.

  • Both the written exam and the research paper can be retaken. Depending on the number of participants, the course coordinator can decide that the retake will be an oral exam. In that case, you will be notified in time.

  • There is no retake for the reaction papers.

  • The partial exams that have been completed with a passing grade, will be valid up to and including the academic year following the year in which the grade has been achieved. To this there is one exception: when the learning objectives, content, design or examination of a course have been changed, the course coordinator can decide that the validity of the partial exam concerned has expired due to didactic reasons. This will be stated in the course description of the academic year in which the change(s) will be implemented.

Ad 1. Exam
The written exam consists of open questions.

Ad 2. Research paper
A research paper is based on desk research that students will carry out independently. In week 3 (class 6), students have to prepare a 3-minute individual pitch during which they will present their research question. Each student will receive peer feedback from two other students, as well as feedback from the instructor. The pitch and peer feedback are an obligatory part of the assignment.

Ad 3. Reaction papers
A reaction paper is a short paper (400-500 words, excluding references) in which students reflect on one of the seminar’s readings.

Submission procedures
Reaction papers have to be submitted through Brightspace 24 hours prior to the start of the class concerned. The research paper has to be submitted through Brightspace as well.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.

Regulation retake passed exams
In this course it is possible to retake an exam that has been passed (cf. art. and further of the Course and Examination Regulations), on the condition that this course is included in the compulsory components of the degree program. Students who have passed the exam may retake the final written assessment (test) of the course if they meet certain requirements. To retake a passed exam, students need to ask the Student Administration Office (OIC) for permission. For more information, go to 'course and exam enrollment' > 'permission for retaking a passed exam' on the student website.

Reading list

Course materials
All mandatory and recommended reading materials will be distributed via Brightspace.


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis.

Contact information

  • Coordinator: Carolien Jacobs

  • Work address: Steenschuur 25, 2312 ES Leiden

  • Contact information: via e-mail

  • Telephone number: 071-5278890

  • Email:


  • Institute: Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law

  • Department: Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society

  • Room number secretary: B1.14

  • Opening hours: Monday to Thursday

  • Telephone number secretary: 071-5278890

  • Email: