nl en

Politics of Migration


Admission requirements

Participation in the seminar is only permitted if the propaedeutic phase has been passed (60 EC).


Migration control is one of the most debated issues of our times. This seminar will give fundamental insights into the key dilemmas that states face when designing and implementing migration policies. It draws on state-of-the-art research and mobilizes historical and contemporary examples from around the world to examine the drivers, dynamics and effects of migration policies. We will investigate the following questions: Who are the key actors that shape migration policymaking? How do the politics of border control differ from the politics of family reunification or low-skilled labor migration? Is migration governance in democracies fundamentally different from that in autocracies? And are migration policies effective in shaping the volume and composition of global migration?
The seminar first looks at the origins and trends of migration control across the globe. It then zooms into the policymaking process and discusses the role of different actors and factors in migration policy: public opinion, civil society, political parties and courts, as well as human rights norms, foreign policy and transnational business interests. Lastly, we will explore policy implementation dynamics, i.e. what migration policy does on the ground. The overall objective of the course is to equip students with the necessary theoretical and empirical knowledge to understand the complex dynamics that shape migration policymaking and to critically evaluate new developments in migration control.

Course objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to
1. explain the core scientific debates and theories on migration policymaking;
2. identify the dilemmas that (inter)national actors face in migration policymaking;
3. compare migration policy dynamics and effects from around the globe;
4. critically assess media and political discourses on migration politics;
5. apply their public speaking and policy analysis skills to migration.

Mode of instruction

Seminars will be structured around discussions of the literature, occasional input lectures, as well as a mix of group work, case studies, quizzes and class debates that will allow you to understand the dynamics at stake in migration policymaking.

Course Load

This 10 EC seminar requires 280 hours of study:

  • Seminar attendance (4h/week, 7 weeks) = 28h

  • Weekly reading and course preparation (8h/session, 13 sessions) = 104h

  • Work on vlog= 28

  • Work on reflection paper = 28h

  • Work on final paper = 92h

Assessment method

The course is assessed through the following four elements:

  • 15% Participation

  • 25% Reflection paper and in-class panel debate

  • 10% Vlog on final essay idea

  • 50% Final Essay

Reading list

There is no textbook for this course. Readings include book chapters and journal articles from political science, as well as related disciplines such as sociology, area studies, political geography, anthropology, law and economics. In addition, we will discuss policy reports, as well as podcasts and documentaries.


See 'Practical Information'


See 'MyTimetable'