Globalization and migration

Offer semester
2nd semester

Lecture time
Wednesday 16:30 – 18:20

Lecture venue

Course description

This course explores the role of globalization in shaping diverse forms of migration. Key debates about cross-border mobilities provide a framework for understanding contestations around legality and ‘illegality’ in migration, national sovereignty, citizenship and belonging, and how these challenge our conventional understanding of migration across the global North South divide. In particular, we will consider what bodies are produced or required by globalized economies, and how the meaning of bodies or social differences (e.g. sexuality, class, race) change across borders. The course content is centred around diverse voices in current debates about migration, including academics, practitioners, policymakers, activists and civil society. Assessments are geared towards facilitating students’ interaction and engagement with public or community initiatives around globalization and migration.

Course learning outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify types of globalized human flows, and analyse their causes, motivations, nature, issues and debates in discourses concerning migration, national belonging, identity politics, and national sovereignty.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of globalization in producing diverse forms of labour and dispossessed populations who migrate, and engage with the moral and political discourses shaping people flows across borders.
  3. Participate as active members of a diverse global community through exposure to key issues and debates in transnational mobilities that they will be encouraged to explore in their assignments.
  4. Engage in intensive group activities with their classmates in seeking solutions to existing problems in human flows.

Study load

ActivitiesNumber of Hours
Reading / Self-study72
Group projects, collective research, presentations20
Assessment: Presentation (incl preparation)20
Assessment: In-class tests (incl preparation)12


Tutorial participation25%
Resources reflection25%
Group project30%
Take-home test20%

Required reading

  • CLASS ONE/ Introduction
    No readings this week.
  • CLASS TWO/ Manufacturing illegality
    Required readings
    Pollock, J. (2010). The migrant worker, the refugee, and the trafficked person: What’s in a
    label? Alliance News, 33(July), 19-22.
    Price, M. & Rojas, G. (2021). The ordinary lives and uneven precarity of the DACAmented:
    visualising migrant precarity in metropolitan Washington. Journal of Ethnic and Migration
    Studies, 47(20), 4758-4778.
  • CLASS THREE/ Smugglers and Smuggling
    Required readings
    Scot Watson . 2015.The Criminalization of Human and Humanitarian Smuggling, Archives,
  • CLASS FOUR/: Globalized labor
    Required readings
    Mathews, G. & Yang, Y. (2012). How Africans pursue low-end globalization in Hong Kong
    and Mainland China. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs, 41(2), 95-120.
    Gorden Mathew: Chung King Mansion: A Center of Low End Globalization , Ethnology 46,
    2 : 168-183.
  • CLASS FIVE/ : Globalized Labor
    Required readings :
    One of the following:
    Marina De Regt , 2010. Ways to Comes, Ways to Leave: Gender, Mobility, and Il/Legality
    Among Ethiopian Domestic Worers in Yemen . Gender and Society 24, 2
    Carnay, N.U. (2017). Pictures From the Inside: Investigating Living Accommodation of
    Migrant Domestic Workers Towards Advocacy and Action. Hong Kong: Mission for Migrant
    Workers. Available online at:
    Pande, A. (2012). From “balcony talk” and “practical prayers” to illegal collectives:
    Migrant domestic workers and meso-level resistances in Lebanon. Gender & Society, 26(3),
  • CLASS SIX/ Refugees and asylum-seekers
    Required readings Both of the following:
    Showler, P. (2007). Bridging the Grand Canyon: Deciding refugee claims. Queen’s
    Quarterly: A Canadian Review, 114(1), 29-43.
    Vecchio, F. (2015). Chapter 4: Establishing life at the destination. In Asylum-seeking and the
    global city. Oxon: Routledge.
  • CLASS SEVEN/ : Criminology of mobility
    Required reading
    Stumpf, J. (2006). The crimmigration crisis: Immigrants, crime and sovereign power.
    American University Law Review, 56(2), 367-419. bepress Legal Series Working Paper 1635,
  • CLASS EIGHT/ : ‘Death at the global frontier’
    Required readings
    One of the following:
    De Leon, J. (2015). Chapter 7: The Crossing (pp.167-202) In The Land of Open Graves:
    Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail. Oakland: University of California Press.
    Weber, L. & Pickering, S. (2011). Chapter 5: Suspicious deaths (pp. 119-141). In
    Globalization and borders: Deaths at the global frontier. Oxon: Routledge.
  • CLASS NINE/: Sex work, gender, sexuality and border crossings
    Required readings
    One of the following:
    Hoang, K. K. (2014). Flirting with capital: Negotiating perceptions of pan-Asian ascendency
    and Western decline in global sex work. Social Problems, 61(4), 507-529.
    Pickering, S., & Ham, J. (2014). Hot pants at the border: Sorting sex work from trafficking.
    British Journal of Criminology, 54(1), 2-19.
  • CLASS TEN/ : Human trafficking and anti-trafficking
    Required readings One of the following:
    Andrijasevic, R. (2007). Beautiful dead bodies: Gender, migration and representation in
    antitrafficking campaigns. Feminist Review, 86(1), 24-44.
    Ham, J. (2020). Anti-trafficking in Southeast Asia. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of
    Criminology and Criminal Justice. Oxford University Press.
  • CLASS ELEVEN/: Globalizing humanitarianism
    Required readings
    One of the following:
    Hoang, K.K. (2016) Perverse humanitarianism and the business of rescue: What’s wrong
    with NGOs and what’s right with the johns? Political Power and Social Theory 30(1), 19-43.
    Henriksen, S. (2018). Consuming life after anti-trafficking. Anti-Trafficking Review, (10).
  • CLASS TWELVE /Last class (Summary of class) and Take-home test
    There are no readings this week.

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Student view

It’s rare that a couse can have an interesting topic each week, but this one manages to do so. It gives you insight and perspectives on the most current issues relating too globalization and migration, in both Hong Kong and the world.
– Michael Kragelund, 4th year MSocSc student in Criminology