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1.10 Europe, Migration, Refugees

Instructor: Duygu Gürsel
Language of instruction:
Course type:
Subject course
Contact hours:
48 (6 per day)
Course days
: see class schedule
ECTS credits
: 5
Course fee:
€ 1,300
🌍 Critical global issues addressed in this course: Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10); Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16)

Course Description

In the last decade, EU experienced unprecedented migration movements. EU’s response has been shaped by distinguishing between “deserving refugees” and “undeserving economic migrants” and has oscillated between humanitarian and securitarian approaches. Whereas the recent developments on the EU borders such as pushbacks, the containment of migrants in the hotspots signalize the abandonment of humanitarian approach, the quick and less bureaucratic protection of Ukrainian refugees demonstrates more of a selective humanitarian approach.  

As the visibility of migration increases in various ways, certain migrants are often represented and imagined as a homogenous mass of ‘the other’. This leads to a problematic understanding of migration as something to be controlled and governed from a top-down perspective alone. But the respective processes of negotiation on migration policy, within and across the outer borders of the Union, take place not only between the official institutions of nation-states, but on all scales of European populations. They also take place from a bottom-up perspective in the centers and at the margins of societies alike.

Departing from diverse theories of migration, we will gain an overview of EU-level migration polity and recent migration- and border-management policies. We will analyze the conflicts, debates and discourses around the last years of increased immigration.

Scaling down, we will engage with the local authorities’ perspective in Berlin. Diving deeper down we will start to change perspective: How do local activists develop and implement their own ways of welcoming migrants? Where do migrants work and how are they represented in trade unions? Finally, focusing on the history of migrant struggles in Berlin, we will encounter migrants’ viewpoints, which reach beyond the usual framings of migrants as ‘passive victim’ or as a threat. We will encounter viewpoints on the conflicts, compromises, resistances, solidarity and social transformation shaped by recent migration movements to Europe.

Download Syllabus (printable PDF incl. day-to-day schedule)