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Elective: The Challenges of Globalization, Migration, and Cross-Border Mobility


Admission requirements

Admission to the Master’s programme Law and Society. Before attending the elective, students are advised to have attended at least 3 of the mandatory courses of the Master’s programme.


Migration and (cross-border) mobility are phenomena of all times, but within the recent decades of intensifying globalization and of increasing transnational interactions they have become more prominent. The so-called European refugee crisis is an important and recent illustration of the tragic and complex dynamics of migration and cross-border mobility. This course takes a broad socio-legal, multilevel and multidisciplinary theoretical view of the regulation of the movement of people around the world. It pays equal attention to South-South migration, South-North migration and patterns of migration where migrants do not cross an international border.

The course begins with an examination of theoretical and historical approaches to global movements of people, including the relationship and interaction between sovereign states and the international community, on the one hand, and states and (non-)citizens on the other hand. This is followed by a socio-legal exploration of protection regimes for refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), as well as local responses to these regimes. What is the difference between refugees and IDPs, between economic migrants and expats, and do these differences matter? What implications does mobility have for ways in which people can obtain access to justice and other basic services? The course will look into these questions by exploring a number of topical cases of mobility, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Both regions are traditionally known for high levels of mobility, both cross-border and within borders. The course will further address the ways in which both Western and non- Western governments and policy makers manage migration, religious cultural, and legal diversity.

Drawing on insights from theory and practice, the course will introduce students to contemporary debates on mobility, familiarize them with critical (human) rights issues, and appraise alternative possibilities of managing (cross-border) mobility and pluri-legal challenges. The course will make students more aware of the challenges of migration and cross-border mobility for people on the move, for host communities, and for national governments and supranational institutions

Course objectives

Objectives of the course

At the end of this course, students are able to:

  • Place current trends and ongoing issues in mobility into a wider historical perspective, especially in relation to a number of specific case studies;

  • Analyse the international, regional and national protection regimes for forced migrants and ways in which forced migrants, including refugees and IDPs navigate these regimes;

  • Explain the pros and cons of the EU and Africa’s migration policies, and the impact these policies have on the mobility levels of migrants as well as on state-sovereignty.

  • Take different perspectives (refugee, migrant, EU policy maker, African policy maker) and explain the challenges different actors face in relation to migration and mobility.

  • Apply theoretical knowledge into practice by proposing concrete solutions to real life dilemmas, which policy makers working in the field of migration are confronted with.


The timetable of this course can be found here.

Mode of instruction


  • Number of (2 hour) lectures: 10

  • Names of lecturers: Carolien Jacobs (coordinator), Marlou Schrover and Nadia Sonneveld (guedst lecutres)

  • Required preparation by students: reading assigned literature.

Assessment method

Examination form(s)

  • Evaluation is based on a written essay exam (70%) and three assignments (30%).

  • Students are expected to achieve an average grade of 5.5 for the written exam

  • Instructions on assignments will be available in the course syllabus.

  • A re-take of the written exam can be retaken if the overall grade is below 5.5. Depending on the number of participants, the course coordinator can decide that the retake will be an oral exam. In that case, you will be notified in time.

  • There is no retake for assignments.

  • The partial exams that have been completed with a passing grade, will be valid up to and including the academic year following the year in which the grade has been achieved. To this there is one exception: when the learning objectives, content, design or examination of a course have been changed, the course coordinator can decide that the validity of the partial exam concerned has expired due to didactic reasons. This will be stated in the course description of the academic year in which the change(s) will be implemented.

Submission procedures
Assingments have to be submitted through Brightspace 24 hours prior to the start of the class concerned.

Areas to be tested within the exam
The examination syllabus consists of the required reading (literature) for the course, the course information guide and the subjects taught in the lectures, the seminars and all other instructions which are part of the course.

Reading list

Course materials
Most mandatory and recommended reading materials will be distributed via Brightspace. Students will have to puchase one book themselves. This will be announced on Brightspace.


Students have to register for the lectures and working groups through uSis. With this registration you have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace. You may register up to 5 calendar days before the first teaching session begins.

Students have to register for exams and retakes through uSis. With this registration you also have access to the digital learning environment of this course in Brightspace You may register up to 10 calendar days before the exam or retake.

Contact information

  • Coordinator: Carolien Jacobs

  • Work address: Steenschuur 25, 2312 ES Leiden

  • Contact information: via e-mail

  • Telephone number: +31 (0) 71 527 7260

  • Email:


  • Institute: Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Law

  • Department: Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society

  • Room number secretary: B1.14

  • Opening hours: Monday to Thursday and Friday morning

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0) 71 527 7260

  • Email: