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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 increasing transnational interactions they have become more prominent. The so-called European refugee crisis is an important and recent illustration of the 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 and historical approaches to global movements of people, including the relationship and interaction between sovereign states and the international community, on the one hand, and states and (non-)citizens on the other hand. This is followed by a socio-legal exploration of protection regimes for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), as well as local responses to these regimes. What is the difference between refugees and IDPs, between economic migrants and expats, and do these differences matter? What implications does mobility have for ways in which people can obtain access to justice and other basic services? Does gender matter? The course will look into these questions by exploring a number of topical cases of mobility, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Both regions are traditionally known for high levels of mobility, both cross-border and within borders. The course will further address the ways in which both Western and non- Western governments and policy makers manage migration, religious cultural, and legal diversity.

Drawing on insights from theory and practice, the course will introduce students to contemporary debates on mobility, 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 more aware of the challenges of migration and cross-border mobility 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;

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

  • Explain the pros and cons of the EU and Africa’s migration policies, and the impact these policies have on the mobility levels of migrants as well as on state-sovereignty.

  • Take different perspectives (refugee, migrant, African and European policy makers) and explain the challenges different actors face in relation to migration and mobility.

  • Apply theoretical knowledge into practice by proposing concrete solutions to real life dilemmas, which policy makers working in the field of migration are confronted with.


Check MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Carolien Jacobs (coordinator) and guest lecturers

  • Required preparation by students: reading assigned literature.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Evaluation is based on a written essay exam (70%) and three assignments (30%).

  • Students are expected to achieve an average grade of 5.5 for the written exam.

  • Instructions on assignments will be available in the course syllabus.

  • A re-take of the written exam can be retaken if the overall grade is below 5.5. Depending on the number of participants, the course coordinator can decide that the retake will be an oral exam. In that case, students will be notified in time.

  • There is no retake for assignments.

  • The partial exams that have been completed with a passing grade, will no longer be valid in the academic year following the year in which the grade has been achieved.

Submission procedures
Assingments have to be submitted through Brightspace 24 hours prior to the start of the class concerned.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination is based on 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). 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
Most mandatory and recommended reading materials will be distributed via Brightspace. Students will have to puchase one book themselves. This will be announced on Brightspace.


Registration for courses and exams takes place via MyStudymap. If you do not have access to MyStudymap (guest students), look here (under the Law-tab) for more information on the registration procedure in your situation.  


  • Coordinator: Carolien Jacobs

  • Work address: Steenschuur 25, 2312 ES Leiden

  • Contact information: via e-mail

  • Telephone number: +31 (0) 71 527 8890

  • 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 and Friday morning

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0) 71 527 7260

  • Email: