This course is discontinued

SOS9224 – Transnational networks and migration processes

Course content

This course addresses the intersection of migrants’ transnational networks and the dynamics of migration itself. We know that migration processes – who moves where, when, how, and under what conditions – are strongly influenced by pre-existing networks between individuals in different locations. Such networks are often created by migration in the first place but they may also arise from institutional practices (for example, business contacts or religious orders) and increasingly from links made in cyberspace. Two-way dynamic relationships between networks and migration are central to understanding how key social-science concepts such as agency and social capital relate to mobility. Questions that will be addresses include the following:

• What are the characteristics of transnational networks that affect migration?
• How do transnational networks shape migration processes and vice-versa?
• Under what conditions does chain migration gain pace?
• How do networks operate in migration with different forms of choice and coercion?
• What is the role of different forms of social capital in migration processes?
• How do local and transnational network dynamics intersect?
• How do legal regulation and social networks interact in shaping migration outcomes?

Learning outcome

The course aims to be relevant to PhD candidates at different stages of their doctoral research. Discussions will focus not only on the thematic substance, but on the intersections with research design, methodology and epistemology. Participants will reflect upon how adopting different levels of analysis, theories of causality and conceptions of agency – all central concerns for such migration research – are likely to shape the research process and outcomes. The discussions will inspire planning for those who are at an early stage of their research, while participants who have completed data collection will have an opportunity to consider the potential strengths and limitations of their material.


The course can accommodate up to 12 participants.
Applications should be sent by e-mail to Ingvild Bergom Lunde (ingvild.lunde(at) and contain a brief presentation of the candidate’s doctoral project (maximum one page). The presentation should make clear which stage the project is currently at, and within which discipline the research is conducted. Applications received by 8th March 2013 will be reviewed together, if there are still vacancies, applications will be reviewed on a continuous basis thereafter. PhD-students at the Department of Sociology and Human geography at the University of Oslo are given priority. There is no tuition fee. Participants must cover their own transportation and accommodation.

UPDATE 20th March 2013: There are no more vacancies for the course, the admission to this course is therefore closed.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course is suitable for PhD candidates in sociology, human geography, social anthropology, development studies, and related disciplines. Priority will be given to applicants whose doctoral research is closely related to the theme of the course.


Place: Room 201, Harriet Holters hus
The course will last for three full days. It will combine two types of sessions: thematic presentations by the lecturers and research presentations by the participants. Both types of sessions will include group discussion.


Oliver Bakewell is Co-Director of the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford. His research interests include migration, diasporas and global development; social theory and migration; changing patterns of migration within Africa; the relationship between migration and development; the interplay between structure and agency in migration theory; and forced migration, repatriation and humanitarian aid. Bakewell is the principal investigator for the project Theorizing the Evolution of European Migration Systems (THEMIS), which examines the conditions that encourage initial moves by pioneer migrants to become established migration system. He is also leading research into the formation of African diasporas within the African continent as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme. Before joining IMI, he spent many years working with migrants and refugees both as a researcher and as a practitioner with a range of development and humanitarian NGOs. Oliver holds a PhD and MSc in Development Studies from the University of Bath and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge. His publications include articles in Disasters, Journal of Critical Realism, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Refugee Studies, and Third World Quarterly.

Jørgen Carling is Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and currently Research Director of one of the institute’s departments. His research interests include migration aspirations and migration processes; migration control and human smuggling; remittances and other transnational practices; theories of transnationalism; the relationship between migration and development; and mixed–method research design. Carling is the principal investigator for the project Possibilities and Realities of Return Migration (PREMIG) and has had overall responsibility for methodology within the project Imagining Europe from the Outside (EUMAGINE). His empirical work has concentrated on migration from Africa to Europe. He has extensive fieldwork experience from Cape Verde, the Netherlands and Italy and combines ethnographic data with statistical analyses in his research. Carling holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Oslo, and a MA in Human Geography, Demography and Economics from the same university. Carling has been a visiting researcher at the University of Oxford and the National University of Singapore. His publications include articles Ethnic and Racial Studies, Human Organization, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, International Migration, and International Migration Review.


In order to obtain full credits (6 ECTS), participants must submit a text (not exceeding 8000 words) by 15th August. The text should relate to the theme of the course and could constitute a draft article or dissertation chapter. Reduced credits may be offered to participants who attend the course without submitting a text.

Facts about this course






June 5-7th 2013, 0900-1600 (untill 1630 Thursday).


Spring 2013

Teaching language