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GROPAS R. - Migration in Europe : Trends, Policies and Politics (25h)


This course aims at introducing the main issues, theories and challenges relating to immigration in Europe today. The course will explore the global dimensions of migration and its multifaceted impacts on European societies.

To this intent, the course will offer a historical overview in order to contextualise migration in Europe today, highlight the push and pull factors of human mobility, as well as the origins of immigration to Europe.

Migration is an integral part of human history. Although the media and political discourse tend to represent migration often as a ‘crisis’, or as a ‘new’ and ‘exceptional’ phenomenon, limited in space and time, population movements have characterised the history of humanity in all periods. Migration takes up its particular contemporary understanding and delimitation as a social, economic and political issue, after the emergence of the nation state and the delineation of fixed territorial boundaries between political units – namely the nation-states – understood as socially and culturally homogenous and cohesive entities. Migrants are indeed a challenge to the national order. They are present where they should not be, i.e. in the host country, and they are absent from where they should be, i.e. their country of origin.

Immigration has characterised the post-war period in Europe. The period 1950-1970 was marked by continuing migration to the United States and Australia from the poorer southern European countries but also by large South-North population movements within Europe.  Some western and northern European countries like Britain, France or Sweden also experienced incoming flows from Africa and Asia. Since the 1980s, East-West population flows within Europe started to increase, peaking in the 1990s, after the collapse of the Communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe in 1989. Subsequently, flows from developing countries or countries affected by wars to both northern and southern European countries intensified, while the refugee and migration crisis of 2015-2016 deeply impacted Europe's migration and asylum policies.

By identifying the various periods and characteristics of each migration 'wave', this course aims to identify the push and pull factors of European migration. Inter alia this includes the marked socio-economic disparities between sending and receiving countries; the political and security situation of some of the former; and individual motives such as immigrants’ desire for better life chances, higher living and consumption standards, which also influence decisions to move.

Moreover, this course aims at studying the relationship between globalisation, European integration and migration and how societal, and more recently technological transformations have impacted migration. 

At the end of the course the student is expected to be able to:

  • Give an overview of migration trends, within Europe and to Europe;
  • Underline the policy similarities and differences between countries or regions;
  • Highlight the issues for European countries, both in terms of management of migration flows and in terms of the integration of migrants;
  • Explain in broad lines European migration policy and characterise the most recent directives;
  • Use the most relevant depositories if looking for some additional information on specific migration topics.