SOC 466. Migration & the Global Economy

Examines the political economy of migration and the criminalization of human movement. Explores livability in relation to global poverty, climate change, nationalism, and capital accumulation.

We are living through a period defined by unprecedented shifts in human population.  By the end of 2017, the United Nations estimated that over 68.5 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to war and sectarian conflict, environmental degradation, climate change, and economic hardship.  Additionally, for the first time in human history more people are living in urban cities than in the rural areas; this has stressed multiple ecological limits and exacerbated global inequalities.  This class investigates these phenomenon in more detail and seeks to shed an understanding on how, and why, so many millions of humans are moving both within and across national boundaries.  As you will see, the answers to these questions are intricately connected to larger issues of state sovereignty, nationalism, economic power, and financial innovation.  The overarching goal of this class to help students understand issues of (im)migration from both a global and local context, and to address the economic/political complexities that are often under addressed. 

“The story of humanity is essentially the story of human movement. In the near future, people will move even more, particularly if, as some predict, climate change sparks mass migration on an unprecedented scale. The sooner we recognize the inevitability of this movement, the sooner we can try to manage it.”

- Patrick Kingsley, The New Odyssey: The Story of Europe’s Refugee Crisis


“At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year. On land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders.”

- UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi


Davis, Mike. Planet of Slums. Verso, 2006

Jones, Reece. Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move. Verso, 2016