Department of Global Development Studies


Global Development Studies

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Title: Strategic Indifference: Understanding Responses to Migrant and Refugee Settlement in Mediterranean Host Countries

Date:  Monday February 4, 2019
Venue: Jeffrey Hall, Room 225
Time: 10:00 AM - 11:30 PM
Speaker: Kelsey Norman, University of British Columbia

Many countries are simultaneously countries of emigration, transit, and immigration. How do they manage these different roles? This presentation focuses on three states in the South and Eastern Mediterranean region—Egypt, Morocco and Turkey—which have seen increasing patterns of migrant and refugee settlement over the last several decades. Through data collected from more than 150 interviews across the three countries, I present a menu of policies from which states strategically select an appropriate strategy for addressing new patterns of migrant and refugee settlement. I also examine when and why countries switch from one policy to another, finding that states may pursue combinations of policies, or change policies over time, depending on perceived diplomatic or economic benefits. This can be due to the influence of neighboring states, domestic political pressures, or security concerns, as well as a host state’s relationship with the origin country of migrants or refugees. My research reframes host states in the Global South as strategic actors when it comes to migration policy, carefully selecting the policy most suitable to their domestic and foreign policy goals while also attempting to utilize as few state resources as possible. Finally, I show what different host state policy options mean for individual migrants and refugees who find themselves ‘stuck’ in countries thought to primarily be spaces of transit. I demonstrate that even in situations of informality and absent meaningful international protection, migrants and refugees find access to livelihoods and ways of sending their children to school, form communities, and engage in social and sometimes political activities.

Kelsey Norman

Kelsey Norman

Dr. Kelsey Norman is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science and the Institute for European Studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and an instructor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Dr. Noman's research examines Middle East and North African states as countries of migrant and refugee settlement and her dissertation was titled "Reluctant Reception: Understanding Host State Migration and Refugee Policies in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey."