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POL3117 : Politics of Immigration

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Dimitris Skleparis
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to identify and explore how immigration is governed, perceived and experienced across the globe. In particular, the module aims to enable students to:
1.       gain an understanding of the key concepts, causes and consequences of immigration, as well as the historical, economic, political, and social factors that have shaped them;
2.       reflect on the institutions, actors and policies involved in governing immigration;
3.       critically evaluate the political dilemmas involved in addressing immigration for a wide variety of actors from political parties, citizens, and media;
4.       critically examine the individual, contextual, and structural factors that influence immigrants’ experiences in host countries.

Outline Of Syllabus

International migration has been one of the signature phenomena in the last few decades, and one of the most debated topics in many developed and developing countries. This module examines immigration from an International Relations and Political Science perspective by drawing on Western and non-Western examples. Part I of the module explores key concepts used to make sense of immigration, as well as theories and empirical evaluations of the economic, social, political and cultural causes and consequences of the phenomenon. It also examines the main institutions and actors involved in the governance of immigration, and the ways they govern it. Specifically, we will address the following questions: Who migrates and why? What are the implications of immigration? Who is governing immigration and in what ways? Part II offers theoretical and comparative empirical perspectives on some of the main factors that inform the ways states govern immigration. We specifically focus on how politicians, political parties, governments, native citizens and the media respond to increasing immigration: what is the role of party politics, public opinion and the media in immigration policymaking, and how does each one of these factors influence it? Finally, Part III moves to consider the experiences and voices of immigrants themselves. It critically examines the effects of legal status, gender, sense of identity and belonging on immigrants’ lives in host countries.
Topics to be covered could include:
• Immigration concepts, motives and implications
• The governance of immigration:
o Institutions and Actors
o Politics of Openness vs. Politics of Closure
• States’ responses to immigration:
o the role of Party Politics
o the role of Public Opinion
o the role of Media
• Critical perspectives on immigration:
o Security and Insecurity
o Citizenship and Identity

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Pre-recorded lecture materials
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities111:0011:00Quizzes; guided tasks.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PIP Seminars
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities112:0022:00Annotated/guided reading
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1134:00134:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk111:0011:00PiP Questions and Answers Session
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Student contact will primarily take place through a series of lectures and seminar classes, supported by engagement through the module’s virtual learning environment. Lectures will convey key themes and issues noted in learning outcomes, and seminars will provide a live, synchronous environment in which students can discuss these in greater depth. Structured, guided learning activities include quizzes to allow students to check their understandings of the lectures; online videos with added comments and annotated readings to encourage deeper reflection on the key issues and debates covered each week. The Module Talk hour gives students the chance to drop in and clarify with the ML any questions they may have regarding the content of the lectures, seminars, and/or structured, guided learning activities, while it also provides the ML with the opportunity to expand on the readings and clarify key themes.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M80Policy Brief - 2,800 words
Written exercise2M20Paper Critique - 700 words
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Case study2MTitle and Introduction of Policy Brief - 500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 2,800-word case study report is aimed at developing academic and employability skills. The case study will be a policy brief. Policy briefs are short documents that refer to a public issue associated with governability. They are addressed to policy-makers who may know little or nothing about the topic, but need to have a general background quickly in order to make decisions. Policy briefs summarise a large amount of complex detail, so the reader can easily understand the heart of the issue, its background, the players (‘stakeholders’) involved and any implemented policies, as well as their repercussions. They are designed to facilitate the use of research or evidence in the public policy process.

The 700-word written exercise will be a critique of a mandatory seminar reading. A critique assignment is a piece of writing in which the student assesses the effectiveness of an academic source in achieving its stated aims and evaluates its value as a reliable resource.

Reading Lists