November 1 2017: RRN Research Digest

The RRN Research Digest provides a synopsis of recent research on refugee and forced migration issues from entities associated with the RRN and others.

You can download the digest in PDF format here: RRN Research Digest No. 23

Recent Publications and New Research

Metropolitan nomads: a journey through Jo’burg’s “little Mogadishu”, by Nereida Ripero-Muñiz

Mayfair, a Johannesburg suburb, is a multi-layered site where Somali migrants, as urban refugees, renegotiate their cultural and religious practices in a foreign, metropolitan context; where spaces and customs that were left behind are recreated in the daily life of the neighbourhood. Using photography and an ethnographic approach, “Metropolitan Nomads” is a collaborative project between researcher Nereida Ripero-Muñiz and documentary photographer Salym Fayad. The project takes an intimate look at the everyday life of Somali migrants in Johannesburg, where collective stories of migration and survival interweave with individual desires and hopes of seeking a better life outside a country shattered by decades of internal conflict. Available at:

Humanitarian Pedagogies of Transit by Estella Carpi

Among displaced communities, education often loses its own acknowledged potential to bring refugees closer to the civic and political fabric of host countries. In early 2015, the author observed this challenge first-hand while visiting Za‘atari and Mrajeeb el-Fhood refugee camps in northern Jordan, which are currently home to approximately 142,000 Syrian refugees. In this context, looking at schooling curricula and materials offers interesting research avenues. Available at:

Latest issue of International Journal of Middle East Studies: Forced Displacement and Refugees

The articles in this special issue of IJMES address both the historical understandings of forced migration in the region as well as contemporary legal and social challenges. The seven papers in this issue span the history of the modern Middle East and the transformation of the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire into neocolonial Mandate states and then, after World War II, nation-states of varying degrees of independence. This history has witnessed the displacement and dispossession of peoples commencing with the Circassians of the Trans-Caucuses and most recently Syrians fleeing the complex civil and proxy war in their country. Hospitality and hostility have emerged as features of this displacement from within the neighboring states of the region to as far away as Norway. Within the region, Syria’s neighboring states for instance, have addressed the mass influx of Syria’s displaced people in political, juridical, and social terms that are deeply embedded in their own sociopolitical and economic histories. The articles are available at:

Reports, Working Papers and Briefs

Making Immigrants into Criminals: Legal Processes of Criminalization in the Post-IIRIRA Era by Leisy Abrego, Mat Coleman, Daniel E. Martínez, Cecilia Menjívar, Jeremy Slack

This report is a historical analysis of the criminalization process in the US. It moves beyond a legal, abstract context, and draws on our quantitative and qualitative research to underscore ways immigrants experience criminalization in their family, school, and work lives. The first half of the analysis is focused on immigrant criminalization from the late 1980s through the Obama administration, with an emphasis on immigration enforcement practices first engineered in the 1990s. Most significant are the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) and the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). The second section explores the social impacts of immigrant criminalization, as people’s experiences bring the consequences of immigrant criminalization most clearly into focus. Available at:

 Mapping Refugee Media Journeys by Marie Gillespie and others

The “Mapping Refugee Media Journeys” project investigates the parallel tracks of the physical and digital journeys of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. It documents the media and informational resources that refugees use from the point of departure, during their journeys across different borders and states, and upon arrival (if they reach their desired destination). By identifying the news and information resources used by refugees, and where they experience gaps or misinformation, we intend to make recommendations to European Commission, to European Member states and their state funded international news organisations about what resources might they might provide not only to help refugees make better-informed decisions but to offer protection as required to fulfil their obligations under the UN Refugee Convention 1951. The report is available at:

PR2: Refugee Resettlement Trends in the Northeast by Pablo Bose and Lucas Grigri

This report focuses on refugee resettlement trends from 2012-2016 for the Northeast region of the United States. It analyzes resettlement on a regional scale, looking at cities listed as official resettlement sites within each region in terms of the absolute number of refugees approved for settlement in each site and how that figure compares to the city’s overall population and foreign-born population. The existing practice is that the US federal government announces an upper limit (a ‘ceiling’) on refugees it will accept for each fiscal year, a number that is then revised based on both local capacity and global conditions – such as new or changing migration crises. Available at:

 News Reports and Blog posts

How Europe exported its refugee crisis to north Africa by Mark Rice-Oxley and Jennifer Rankin

Separately the European commission has signed migration deals with five African countries, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Ethiopia. These migration “compacts” tie development aid, trade and other EU policies to the EU’s agenda on returning unwanted migrants from Europe. This article highlights the ramifications of this new EU approach. Available at:

The Supreme Court Justices Need Fact-Checkers by John Pfaffoct

The court has historically relied on amicus briefs, written by outside experts, to provide it with that broader empirical background and help compensate for its own institutional shortcomings. Unfortunately, these briefs are easily abused. This article explores the possibility and implications of relying on “in-house” fact checkers. Available at:

Powder keg on Manus Island as refugees refuse to leave immigration center By Hilary Whiteman

This article reports on the confrontation that is looming in Papua New Guinea (PNG) between local authorities and more than 700 men who are refusing to leave an Australian-run immigration processing center in Manus Island. Available at:

Digital and Social Media

Soundcloud: ‘Livelihoods in displacement: from refugee perspectives to aid agency response’ Speaker: Dr Veronique Barbelet (Overseas Development Institute)

As part of RSC Public Seminar Series, Michaelmas Term 2017 Dr. Barbelet shares her ideas and research about the lives and livelihoods of refugees living in protracted displacement. Available at:

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