Migrants, Ethnicity, and Super-diversity (805L5)

30 credits, Level 7 (Masters)

Spring teaching

Many scholars of migration study migrants along the lines of ethnic groups. They look at their experience through an ‘ethnic lens’, interested in the emergence and role of ethnic networks, identities, and communities. Yet to what extent does ethnicity matter?

Migrants often move to ‘super-diverse’ global cities. There, they build complex relationships that seem to be inadequately captured by the language of ethnicity. Non-ethnic processes, identities, and attachments have gained increasing attention in today’s globalised societies. We will critically examine the close link between migration and ethnicity to:

  • see how ethnicity achieves prominence in key areas of migrants’ lives
  • identify alternative approaches to ethnicity and ethnic-group centred perspectives on migration.

Discussions will use a variety of theories and case studies developed in the European or US context.

The module encourages a nuanced understanding of the variable role of ethnicity in migrants’ experience. We will:

  • look at theoretical perspectives on ethnicity and the critique of the ‘ethnic bias’ in migration research
  • examine different domains where ethnicity becomes prominent (migrant networks, economies, politics and identities)
  • evaluate alternative (non-ethnic) approaches to studying migrants, in the context of our increasingly ‘super-diverse’ cities and societies, to see how they fulfil their promise
  • look at different types of migrants and mixed neighbourhoods where old and new migrants and minorities cross paths, to assess the extent and limits of ‘everyday’ forms of cosmopolitanism.


100%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.