October 10, 2019: 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. 73

Recent Publications and New Research

McGrath, S., & Young, J. E. (2019). Mobilizing Global Knowledge: Refugee Research in an Age of Displacement. University of Calgary Press. Mobilizing Global Knowledge brings together academics and practitioners to reflect on a global collaborative research network with a wide-ranging impact on refugee research and policy. Together, the members of this network have worked to bridge silos, sectors, and regions to address power and politics in refugee research, engage across tensions between the Global North and Global South, and engage deeply with questions of practice, methodology, and ethics in refugee research. Bridging scholarship on network building for knowledge production and scholarship on research with and about refugees, Mobilizing Global Knowledge brings together a vibrant collection of topics and perspectives. More information about the book available at:  https://press.ucalgary.ca/books/9781773850856/ The book is also available open access at:  https://prism.ucalgary.ca/handle/1880/111127

Culcasi, K and Skop, E. (October 2019) (eds). Special Issue: Bordering Practices, Local Resistance and the Global Refugee “Crisis”. Geographical review 109 (4). Drawing from critical geopolitics and migration studies,  the  papers  within  this  special  issue situate and explore some of the major questions that geographers started asking after  WWI  and  continue  to  ask  today.  Key  themes  found  within  the  pages  of the  special  issue  include:1)  making  state-power  visible  through  its  production of concepts, categories, and discourse;2) exploring bordering practices internal to the state;3) challenging state and international hegemony through grassroots initiatives and institutional resistance;4) highlighting refugee agency in reworking  traditional  notions  of  space,  place,  and  networks;  and5)  illustrating  how the term refugee has shifted over time and reflects both global geopolitical and spatial logics as well as disciplinary trends since1919. Available to subscribers at:  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/19310846/2019/109/4

Hernandez-Ramirez, A. (2019). The political economy of immigration securitization: nation-building and racialization in Canada. Studies in Political Economy, 100(2), 111-131. This article includes an analysis of the origin of the “bogus refugee” notion, as well as delves into how this figure corresponds to a set of securitization of migration practices in the 1980s, the way in which some newspapers supplemented their narratives about immigration and alleged “bogus refugees” with menacing, nature-based imagery, and how diverse elements of civil society and the Canadian state appeared as central actors in the multistaged security formation around the creation of the “bogus refugee.” Access the online article here (free access for a short period of time): https://tandfonline.com/doi/10.1080/07078552.2019.1646452

Turner, L. (2019). The politics of labelling refugee men as ‘vulnerable’, Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, online first, 1-23. Critiques of humanitarian work with refugees have increasingly called for refugee men’s “vulnerabilities” to be recognized. The deployment of “vulnerability” reflects the term’s centrality within contemporary humanitarianism, and its rapidly expanding use in feminist analysis. This article argues that calls to see refugee men as “vulnerable” fail to critique, and even seek to expand, “vulnerability” as a mechanism of humanitarian governance. This approach is likely to lead to more humanitarian control over, and racialized violence toward, refugee men themselves. In an era of calls for decolonial approaches, more radical critiques are required, which center the concepts, understandings, and resistance of refugees. Available with subscription at: https://academic.oup.com/sp/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/sp/jxz033/5572273

Reports policy briefs and working papers

Report: Bridging the mobile disability gap in refugee settings, GSMA Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation, September 2019. The GSMA Mobile for Humanitarian Innovation programme works to accelerate the delivery and impact of digital humanitarian assistance. The programme is supported by the UK Department for International. Despite facing multiple exclusions there are green shoots demonstrating how digital technology can support persons with disabilities during crises. The aim of this case study is to highlight refugees with disabilities’ access to mobile services and the benefits and challenges associated with using these services in three different humanitarian contexts. The hope is that mobile network operators (MNOs) and humanitarian organisations can use this data to tailor mobile-enabled services that meet refugees with disabilities’ needs, in a way that is a commercial opportunity for MNOs.  Development. Available at:  


Kerwin, D. (2019). The US Refugee Resettlement Program — A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen, and Revitalize the United States, Center for Migration Studies. The current US administration has put the United States on pace to resettle the lowest number of refugees in USRAP’s 38-year history, with possible further cuts in fiscal year (FY) 2019. This report describes the myriad ways in which this program serves US interests and values. the report describes the achievements, contributions, and integration outcomes of 1.1 million refugees who arrived in the United States between 1987 and 2016. The report also finds that refugees bring linguistic diversity to the United States and, in this and other ways, increase the nation’s economic competitiveness and security. In short, refugees become US citizens, homeowners, English speakers, workers, business owners, college educated, insured, and computer literate at high rates. These findings cover a large population of refugees comprised of all nationalities, not just particularly successful national groups. Available at:


Stepping Up: Refugee Education in Crisis, UNHCR. This report tells the stories of some of the world’s 7.1 million refugee children of school age under UNHCR’s mandate. In addition, it looks at the educational aspirations of refugee youth eager to continue learning after secondary education, and highlights the need for strong partnerships in order to break down the barriers to education for millions of refugee children. Education data on refugee enrolments and population numbers is drawn from UNHCR’s population database, reporting tools and education surveys and refers to 2018. Age-disaggregated data is not available for the whole refugee population. Where this data is not available, it has been estimated on the basis of available age disaggregated data. The report also references global enrolment data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics referring to 2017. Read the report at:


News reports and blog posts

Humanitarian family reunion: not just the right thing to do, by Conor Costello, Devpolicy blog,September 27, 2019. New research as part of a collaboration between Oxfam and Monash University shows that family unity is a key element to successful resettlement for refugees and humanitarian migrants in Australia. This news report, puts the spotlight on Lelisse and her family and how Their experience illustrates in painful detail how stressful and hard it is for refugees settled in Australia to try and build a new life here, when family members they love dearly are missing, living in danger in the war-torn countries they’ve fled, or struggling to survive in a refugee camp on the other side of the world. Available at: https://unsw.us3.list-manage.com/track/clickc

The Illusion of Consent – Voluntary Repatriation or Refoulement by Aman and Hamsa Vijayaraghavan, International Law Blog (September 25, 2019). In October 2018, in the first instance of its kind, the Supreme Court of India endorsed the Government’s move to return seven Rohingya men back to conflict-ridden Rakhine State in Myanmar. In this piece, the authors aim to elaborate on the need to assess the voluntariness of such returns, in the absence of which they may violate the principle of non-refoulement. Available at:


Digital and social media

Listen to this amazing CBC radio interview with our SyRIA.lth colleagues from Montreal: Our peer researcher in Montreal Adnan Al-Mhamied explores the experience of fathers fleeing from conflict as they resettle far from home. Available for reading or as audio at: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/i-didn-t-talk-i-kept-silent-how-refugee-fathers-cope-with-conflict-trauma-and-resettlement-1.5306368

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