KRIM4958 – Migration Control, Borders and Citizenship

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Course content

Criminologists increasingly take an interest in the ways that destination states seek to control migration, including through criminal law, imprisonment, detention and return. While goods are allowed to circulate comparatively freely in modern capitalism, people are not. Migration control has changed contemporary penal systems.

Aspiring migrants face a variety of obstacles to international mobility. Actual migrants are subjected to border control but also a range of other policies upon entry, sifted into legal-bureaucratic categories that determine the lawfulness of their stay and deportability. Migrants who find themselves unwelcome by the authorities are not without agency, however, and may seek to resist policing and circumvent the legal obligation to return as non-members of society.

This course both explores how Norway and other destination states construct the influx of migrants and respond to it, and how migrants experience and resist being governed. It looks at the legal, ethical and practical limits of state power to control migration, and the myriad state, supra-state and non-state actors that shape the outcomes of migration control. The course is interdisciplinary, approaching migration control from multiple vantage points to unpack some of its complexity in an age of (im)mobility.

Key concepts that will be discussed in this course include

  • Migration management/control
  • Policing
  • Detention
  • Assisted return and deportation
  • Migration theory
  • Border control
  • Citizenship

Learning outcome

At the end of the course, MA students are expected to have thorough knowledge of

  • The central discussions and positions in contemporary social science research on migration and migration control.
  • The various tools utilized by the state to control migration, and the tools used by migrants to resist control.
  • The key actors operating at various levels of migration control, from the local to the national and supranational.
  • The reasons why migrants may seek to resist states’ attempts to control mobility, and what challenges this creates for law enforcement.


At the end of the course, MA students are expected to

  • Demonstrate awareness of some of the fundamental differences between state- and migrant-centric perspectives on human mobility and migration control.
  • Be able to discuss the challenges and opportunities that a liberal democracy and its coercive apparatus face in the attempt to regulate human mobility.
  • Be able to address analytically issues of power, justice and inequality in the field of migration management.


At the end of the course, MA students are expected to

  • Be able to discuss specific labels, categories and terms as tools of migration control.
  • Identify ways through which migration theory and criminological theory can complement each other, thus deepening our understanding of migration control, borders and citizenship.
  • Be able to engage critically in a discussion on the capacity and desire for migration control in liberal democracies.


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If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with KRIM2958 – Migration Control, Borders and Citizenship




Students are graded on the basis of a 7-day take-home exam.

Size: Maximum 4000 words (roughly 10 pages). Front page, contents page (optional) and bibliography are not included. If footnotes are used in the text (at the bottom of each page), they are included in the 4000 word limit. Papers that exceed the 4000 word limit will be disallowed.

Any exam at the University of Oslo are being checked for both correct word count and incidents of cheating.

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Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English.You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Marking criteria 

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Facts about this course






Spring 2019


Spring 2019

Teaching language