Sussex Centre for Migration Research

3rd SCMR-JEMS conference, 'Migration and diversity: a dialogue across disciplines'


Statham 3rd SCMRJEMSProfessor Statham opens the conference

On March 16th, the Sussex Centre for Migration Research (SCMR) and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS), hosted the third SCMR-JEMS International Conference entitled “Migration and Diversity: a dialogue across disciplines”.

The event was highly successful in profiling Sussex as a major venue for Migration research, with world-leading speakers from Europe, the United States and Asia and attracting more than 200 participants.


Professor Paul Statham, SCMR Director and Editor-in-Chief of JEMS, introduced the one-day event that aimed to celebrate the best in migration research and provide a platform for dialogue across the disciplines and regional contexts of global migration. Speakers presented cutting-edge theoretical and empirical research from across sociology, human geography, politics, refugee studies, education, and wellbeing.

The Keynote Professor Roger Waldinger (University of California Los Angeles) presented his latest research on cross-border connections and moving beyond transnationalism and assimilationism, that received a critique from Professor Jørgen Carling, Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo.

Waldinger 3rd SCMRJEMSProfessor Roger Waldinger


Professor Brenda Yeoh (National University of Singapore) discussed migration and diversity in urban contexts, with a specific focus on Singapore and the legacy of its colonial past. Sociologist Professor Magdalena Nowicka (Humboldt University, Berlin) focussed on social, emotional and economic remittances, while Professor Alexander Betts (Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford) presented his analysis of the current refugee ‘crisis’ in Europe. Finally, Dr Elaine Chase, (University College London) presented on precariousness and the futures and wellbeing of former unaccompanied minors.

Videos of all presentations and discussions, as well as the bios of our speakers, can be found below.

The conference programme can be downloaded here 3rd SCMRJEMS programme [PDF 116.76KB].


Speakers' bios

Key-note speaker: Professor Roger Waldinger, UCLA Roger Waldinger

Roger Waldinger, Professor (Ph.D. Harvard) works on international migration: its social, political, and economic consequences; the policies and politics emerging in response to its advent; the links between immigrants and the countries and people they have left behind.

Waldinger’s latest book is The Cross-Border Connection: Immigrants, Emigrants, and their Homelands, (2015). The Cross-Border Connection addresses a paradox at the core of the migratory phenomenon: emigrants departing one society become immigrants in another, tying those two societies together. With book, Waldinger explains how interconnections between place of origin and destination are built and maintained and why they eventually fall apart. Newcomers to the developed world find that migration is a good thing and they send some of these benefits back to relatives as remittances. Residing in a democratic state, emigrants mobilize to produce change in the homelands they left, while emigration states extend their influence across boundaries to protect nationals and retain their loyalty. Time, however, proves corrosive, and most immigrants and their descendants become disconnected from their place of origin, reorienting their concerns to their new home.

Professor Waldinger will be joined by:


Professor Alexander Betts, University of Oxford, Refugees Studies Centre Alexander Betts

Alexander Betts is Leopold Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and a Fellow of Green-Templeton College at the University of Oxford, where he was previously the Hedley Bull Research Fellow in International Relations. He received his MPhil (in Development Studies, with Distinction) and DPhil (in International Relations) from the University of Oxford.

His research focuses on the international politics of asylum, migration and humanitarianism with a geographical focus on Sub-Saharan Africa

Professor Jørgen Carling, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), Norway Jorgen Carling

Jørgen Carling is Research Professor in migration and transnationalism studies at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). His research focuses on the theories of migration and transnationalism; Migration aspirations and intentions; Networks and chain migration processes; Immigration policy and migration pressure; Border control and migrant fatalities, among others. Carling has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Cape Verde, Italy and the Netherlands, primarily with Cape Verdeans, but also with migrants from Ghana and China.


Dr Elaine Chase, University College London Elaine Chase

Elaine Chase is a Senior Lecturer in Education, Health Promotion and Development'; Department of Education, Society and Practice;  University College London Institute of Education. Her research focuses on the sociological dimensions of wellbeing and rights of individuals and communities, particularly those most likely to experience disadvantage and marginalisation. Elaine is particularly interested in the interface between policy, practice and context and has carried out many qualitative and mixed-method studies, in the UK and internationally, in a range of health, education, public care and community settings.

She is currently the PI on the ESRC-funded project "Becoming 'Adult': Conceptions of futures and wellbeing among young people subject to immigration control in the UK"

Professor Magdalena Nowicka, Humboldt University Magdalena Nowicka

Magdalena Nowicka's research interests are in social theory which she has always tried to apply in empirical studies. She currently employes the conceptual toolset of Pierre Bourdieu to study the processes involved in cultural encounters in migration. Previously, she worked with Bourdieu's theory to address social change in the course of integration of Poland with the European Union.

She currently leads the ERC project TRANSFORmIG (Transforming Migration: Transnational Transfer of Multicultural Habitus)

Professor Brenda Yeoh, National University of Singapore Brenda Yeoh

Brenda Yeoh is Provost’s Chair at Department of Geography, as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore. Her main interest in population-related studies lies in migration, family and gender issues. She has in recent years completed, in collaboration with other colleagues, research projects on modes of childcare in Singapore, migrant women as paid domestic labour in the Southeast Asian context and Singaporean skilled migration to China. Currently, she is involved in several collaborative research projects including Transnational Labour Migration and the Family in Southeast Asia; and Intergenerational Relationships, Fertility and the Family in Singapore.

Key-note, Professor Roger Waldinger 'A cross-border perspective on migration', with comments by Professor Jorgen Carling

Professor Brenda Yeoh, 'Global city of encounters'

Professor Magdalena Nowicka, 'Migrant spaces, shared values, and negotiated meanings'

Professor Alexander Betts, 'Reflections on the refugee 'crisis''

Dr Elaine Chase, 'The shifting contours of 'precarity''