SO/PO 380 - Immigration in the Mediterranean Basin

The Mediterranean basin has historically been a space for human mobility and cultural exchange. Immigration is changing Europe rapidly with large numbers of migrants and asylum-seekers arriving from the East and South. Beside “old immigration countries” such as Germany, France and UK, in recent decades Mediterranean EU countries like Spain, Italy and

Greece have become the initial, and sometimes the final, goal of migrants attempting to enter Europe.

International migration is a complex phenomenon giving rise to moral dilemmas and controversial social and political issues, such as cultural and religious pluralism, national identity and citizenship rights. This course will look at immigration in the Mediterranean basin from an interdisciplinary perspective with readings from history, economics, sociology, demography, political science and literature. A variety of theoretical approaches, empirical findings and a selection of case-studies will be considered. 

The course is broadly divided into three sections. The first part will focus on the history and the geography of human mobility across the Mediterranean. Myths and realities in the representations of the Mediterranean as a “bridge” connecting people and cultures will be discussed, in addition to a field trip to Marseille.

The second part will focus on the “borderization” of the Mediterranean and the current developments in European policies with respect to regular and illegal immigration. The focus here will be on the externalization of EU borders on the southern shore of the Mediterranean where both concepts of “fortress Europe” and “shelter Europe” are to be contrasted with EU’s responses to asylum migrations and borderland security challenges.

The third part will explore the political and sociological consequences of global migration on domestic politics. After discussing different policy approaches to immigrant integration and incorporation patterns, this section will analyze paths and features of immigration in selected European countries with a focus on current issues, including the spread of racism, the rise of anti-immigration parties and different ways to deal with diversity in European societies.

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Political Science

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