POL3117 : Politics of Immigration

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 a comparative political perspective by drawing on European, American, and Asian 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 gender, body, sense of identity and belonging on immigrants’ lives in host countries, as well as the multiple ways in which immigrants mobilise to voice their grievances and claims. The module concludes with a critical reflection on what is involved in separating out refugees from the general category of immigrants.
The module covers the following topics:
•       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       Gender and Body
o       Identity and Belonging
o       Mobilisation and Protest
o       The Politics of Bounding

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
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 opportunity to discuss these in greater depth.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M452000 words
Essay2M452000 words
Prof skill assessmnt2M10Attendance and participation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Two major methods will be used to assess students’ overall comprehension of the course materials on the comparative politics of immigration. The 2,000-word essay will give students the opportunity to demonstrate skills in writing, referencing, research, critical analysis, and judgment between knowledge acquired from lectures and seminars, and independent research on contemporary immigration issues. Students will be evaluated on their ability to examine and make arguments about a particular aspect of immigration issue utilising course materials. The 2,000-word case study report is aimed at developing academic and employability skills. Students will be asked to select an immigration host state and a specific immigrant group in that country. They will be evaluated on their ability to outline the immigration and settlement of that group with reference to up to date data, reflect on the immigration causes and implications that arise for the host country, as well as critically assess the host state's policy responses to the phenomenon.

Reading Lists