February 10 2022: 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. 118


In celebration of Black History month, the RRN team would like to share with you some useful resources and publications. Please share with us any other information to include in the upcoming February issue:


New journal issue:  Refugee Review Volume V. Refugee Review is a journal of the Emerging Scholars and Practitioners on Migration Issues network and is a fully open access, peer-reviewed journal that supports young researchers who work on issues of refugees and forced migration studies. The latest volume is dedicated to the impact of Covid-19 on migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in areas of borders, welfare, and intersectional vulnerabilities. It contains articles by refugee scholars and artists as well as practitioners from Poland, Lebanon, Jordan, India, Morocco, Greece, Somalia, Nigeria, South Africa, the U.S., and Italy.

New book: Grabska, K., & Clark-Kazak, C. R. (Eds.). (2022). Documenting Displacement: Questioning Methodological Boundaries in Forced Migration Research. McGill-Queen’s University Press. Documenting Displacement explores the ethics and methods of research in diverse forced migration contexts and proposes new ways of thinking about and documenting displacement. Each chapter delves into specific ethical and methodological challenges, with particular attention to unequal power relations in the co-creation of knowledge, questions about representation and ownership, and the adaptation of methodological approaches to contexts of mobility. Contributors reflect honestly on what has worked and what has not, providing useful points of discussion for future research by both established and emerging researchers. The recording of our pre-book launch with LERRN & RRN webinar series is available here. PRIO hosts the next event in the book launch series; details here.

Screening Out: HIV Testing and the Canadian Immigration Experience, by Laura Bisaillon, University of British Columbia Press (to appear in April 2022). Following the sequence of events in the application process of a sub-Saharan African woman in her interactions with an immigration doctor, this book is an institutional ethnography of the Canadian immigration process from the perspective of the very people to whom the exclusionary health policy is directed. Laura Bisaillon demontrates that mandatory HIV screening triggers institutional practices that are highly problematic not only for would-be immigrants, refugees and refugee applicants, but also for those bureaucrats, doctors, lawyers, and other actors whodr work tethers them to the Canadian immigration system. This book produces a vital corrective to state claims about the functioning – and the professional and administrative practices supporting – mandatory HIV testing and medical examination, showing how and where things need to change.

Elcioglu, E. F. (2021). Neoliberal Fatigue: The Effects of Private Refugee Sponsorship on Canadians’ Political Consciousness. Critical Sociology. Drawing on 25 interviews, this article examines the insights that these privileged citizens of the global north gain as they help refugees struggling with the marginalizing consequences of neoliberal austerity in their new hostland. While sponsors learn about the challenges facing working-class racialized newcomers (otherwise obscured to sponsors by their racial, class, and citizenship privileges), the program robs sponsors of the time and mental bandwidth to reflect on the structural nature of these challenges.

Consequently, sponsors rarely understand refugees’ struggles as public troubles necessitating broader intervention, including modest policy reform. I call this cognitive outcome neoliberal fatigue. The author concludes by discussing how this fatigue thwarts social change and reinforces neoliberal capitalism.

[Open access] Nicholas R. Micinski (2022). Delegating Responsibility: International Cooperation on Migration in the European Union. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Press. Delegating Responsibility explores the politics of migration in the European Union and explains how the EU responded to the 2015–17 refugee crisis. Based on 86 interviews and fieldwork in Greece and Italy, Micinski proposes a new theory of international cooperation on international migration. States approach migration policies in many ways—such as coordination, collaboration, subcontracting, and unilateralism—but which policy they choose is based on capacity and on credible partners on the ground.

[Open access] Lunstrum, Elizabeth, and Bose, Pablo S. (2022). Environmental displacement in the anthropocene. Annals of the American Association of Geographers. This intervention invites more substantial scholarly attention to human displacement in and of the Anthropocene—this current age in which humans have become the primary drivers of global environmental change—and sets out an initial framework for its study. The framework is organized around three interrelated contributions. First is the recognition that displacement is driven not just by climate change but also broader forms of environmental change including biodiversity loss, changes to land and water resources, and the buildup of nuclear debris, along with their intersections. Second, the framework parses out three distinct moments of displacement in the Anthropocene: displacement as a consequence of, prerequisite to, and active response to environmental change. Third, the framework rejects environmental (neo)determinism by showing how displacement across these distinct moments and drivers is more than environmental: It is the articulation of environmental and sociopolitical–economic factors, which are routinely shaped by inequality and play out within a broader series of crises and crisis narratives that drive displacement and hinder viable solutions.


Issue Brief: Networks of Care for Displaced LGBTQ+ People: How the United States Can Support LGBTQ+-led Organizations in Central America and Mexico, Refugee International and ICRA Casabierta, January 27, 2022. Refugees International and ICRA Casabierta surveyed NGOs throughout Central America about the challenges facing LGBTQ+ displaced people in the region and what the United States can do to help.

Report: Do Not Forget: Aiding and Protecting Civilians in South Sudan, By Daniel Sullivan, Refugee International, January 13, 2022. South Sudan is facing one of the largest displacement and humanitarian crises on earth, with 4 million citizens displaced. Yet the attention of donors and diplomats is waning.

Top 10 Migration Issues of 2021, Migration Policy Institute. The rollout of vaccines, increased testing, and other public-health measures led several parts of the world in 2021 to begin recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. But the virus and its variants abated in fits and starts. As a result, 2021 did not see a return to pre-pandemic migration trends, but instead witnessed new patterns of movement in some places. At the same time, new conflicts erupted in 2021, ongoing crises continued to smoulder, and forcibly displaced migrants often found themselves stuck in the middle. Impacts of the pandemic were not responsible for all MPI Top 10 migration issues of the year, but the repercussions of the public-health crisis and related economic fallout were felt widely. Explore these and other issues in the MPI annual countdown below:

  1. World Reopens Unevenly after First Year of Pandemic as It Reckons with Delta and Omicron
  2. In Landmark Integration Move, Countries in South America and the Caribbean Extend Protections to Millions of Venezuelans
  3. Increasingly, Vaccination Is Becoming a Necessary Ticket to Travel, Challenging Those Who Lack Access
  4. New Crises Around Globe Add to Existing Humanitarian Burden and Destabilize Countries of First Asylum
  5. Biden Struggles to Dismantle Trump-Era Border Restrictions
  6. As Government in Afghanistan Falls, Mass Evacuation of Afghans Occurs
  7. At Europe’s Edge, “Weaponizing” Migration for Geopolitical Aims
  8. Migration Streams through the Western Hemisphere Diversify
  9. The United States Joins Europe in Focus on “Root Causes” of Migration
  10. Remittance Flows Beat the Odds to Grow Despite Pandemic


Campaign Targeting Immigration Detention in Canada Builds Momentum, By Samer Muscati & Hana Gros, Human Rights Watch, January 27, 2022. Since Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International launched the joint #WelcomeToCanada campaign in October 2021 calling on Canada to stop incarcerating immigration detainees in provincial jails, more than 5,000 people have written to the Government of British Columbia (BC) urging the province to listen. Learn about the campaign here.

Asylum-seeker smuggling is a symptom, not a root cause, by Rober Falconer and Craig Damian Smith, The Globe and Mail, January 31, 2022. Earlier this month, the Patels – a family of four from India – died of cold exposure trying to walk south through the Canada-U.S. border near Emerson, Man. But rather than look at how policies incentivize such irregular migration and produce such tragedies, Canadian politicians and news media have been quick to parrot rhetoric from other rich countries, speculating about the responsibility of criminal smugglers and wider networks of nefarious actors. Read more.

Abul Rizvi, ‘Smoke and mirrors: Afghans neglected in Australia’s humanitarian program’, Pearls and Irritations, January 25 2022. Far from holding out a helping hand to Afghans left stranded by the withdrawal of foreign troops, Australia has been even less generous than normal. Read more.

Rebecca L. Root, ‘Promises and pledges: Has the Global Compact on Refugees delivered?’, Devex, January 27 2022. Out of the current 1,626 pledges, according to the U.N. Refugee Agency’s pledge dashboard, only 164 have been marked as completed, 620 are listed as “in progress,” and 47 are considered in the planning stages. Read more.


New video: Cruel, costly and ineffective: The failure of offshore processing in Australia. Based on Madeline Gleeson and Natasha Yacoub’s recent Policy brief from Kaldor centre that takes a deep dive  into Australia’s offshore processing system for refugee claims. This new short video features striking animation and data visualisation.

Zoryan Institute’s New Dispersion Podcast. Season One of the Zoryan Institute’s new Dispersion Podcast is now live on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and Acast. Through conversations with individuals from diverse communities, Dispersion celebrates the experiences of Canadians living away from, and returning to, their homeland, and explores important theories and topics related to diaspora and transnational studies. Topics covered in Season One range from defining diaspora, to return migration, to cross-generational identity and cultural education, to artistic representations of diaspora experiences. By bringing these conversations to new audiences, Dispersion aims to challenge stereotypes and discrimination, and bring people together. 

Upcoming webinar: BHER Speaker Series: Together for Peace in Somalia Film Screening and Rebuilding Somalia Panel

February 16, 2022

9:00 – 10:30am (Toronto)

with Hawa Sabriye, Maryan Madobe and Jama Ahmed Mohamed

Join the Zoom session here.

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