Over the last four decades, immigration has transformed Western societies, producing significant social changes in the ways they conceive themselves as diverse, multicultural, welcoming, or democratic. It has at the same time constantly raised political and cultural forms of anxieties, especially about how to control migration and how to choose the “good” migrants. The overall objective of the course is to understand transnational issues, theoretical debates and analytical issues that shape the study of immigration and integration. The course will introduce migration studies through a sociological lens, with a specific attention to examine social, political, and historical contexts of immigration, as well as to various actors that make migrations. The course will be mostly anchored in the cases of European countries and societies, but will also examine other nations, as for instance Canada.


The course is divided into two main parts.

The first section outlines the dynamics of international migrations and the global, social, and racial inequalities that divide them. Why do people move? Can State control migration, including keeping the “unwanted” migrants out? This section will also focus on the public and private actors of transnational border control, and will discuss the various and ambiguous categories of international mobility: migrant, refugee, asylum seeker, expatriate etc.

The second section will explore debates around the processes through which foreigners incorporate to their adoptive countries and consider how gender, race, class, religion, and age affect the reception and integration of migrants. What do assimilation, integration and multiculturalism mean from one country of immigration to another? Finally, the section will examine the politicization of immigration and how it (re) shapes collective action and political competition in host societies.


Students will also be required to produce their own primary sources of information regarding lived experiences of migration. Part of the evaluation will consist in completing an interview with a migrant (see assessment part below). To complete this assignment, students will receive teaching and support on sociological methods. During the course, the instructor will address the methodological and ethical issues related to data collection, specifically adapted to participants in situation of migration and potential vulnerability.


This course is open to anyone with an interest in immigration and a willingness to examine issues that raise challenging moral, political, and academic questions. Moreover, the course is particularly suitable for students seeking a first experience in qualitative research and interested in learning the sociological interview method.