IMER Research Areas


This course develops knowledge and understanding of key issues and problems in contemporary research on international migration and ethnic relations (IMER). The course welcomes all students with an interest in the research subject and with some experience of academic work in the social sciences, but it does not require previous academic studies in IMER.
Essentially, the syllabus consists of seven modules on different subjects within the IMER field. Two of these will be offered each Spring semester. Hence, the modules are offered on a rotating basis and with respect to available staff. The first half of the syllabus (Section A) describes the general elements of the course structure, to which the seven modules pertain. The seven, rotating modules are presented in the second half of the syllabus (Section B).

Admission requirements

General eligibility for university studies and English 6 + 30 credits within Social Science


credits 100%


Syllabus for students spring 2023, spring 2022

Course Code:
IM229L revision 1
Swedish name:
IMER forskningsområden
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
No main fields
Date of ratification:
01 March 2019
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
20 January 2020

Entry requirements

General eligibility for university studies and English 6 + 30 credits within Social Science

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course is not part of a main field of study.


This course develops knowledge and understanding of central issues in interna-tional migration and ethnic relations (IMER). It draws on ongoing research at the department and the expertise of the teaching researchers. The aim is both to devel-op an understanding of state of the art knowledge in the field and to examine how such knowledge is and can be produced. In so doing, the course consistently com-bines and integrates theoretical and methodological queries. No previous IMER courses are required, but rather a general acquaintance with key scientific criteria and academic literacy in the social sciences.
The course’s underlying pedagogical philosophy is that the generic intellectual skills of critical thinking and independent analysis are best developed in delimited thematic contexts, in which the connection between knowledge about (findings and theories) and knowledge how (methodology) are most visible and open for scrutiny. To this end, the course is focused on key problems and questions in con-temporary IMER research, and benefits from the expertise and current research in the department. Apart from offering students in-depth knowledge on a selected set of subjects in the IMER field, it also develops a more profound and general under-standing of what it means “to know” something and how such knowledge is pro-duced in the social sciences.


The course is divided in two modules (15 + 15 credits), each of which consists of one general (7.5 credits) and one specific (7.5 credits) part. The first introduces the field, key concepts and theories, important findings and main controversies through a series of lectures and seminars with assigned readings. The second, specific part consists of individual work on a more specific topic within the wider area, in which students in dialogue with the teacher(s) select and review a particular research field. The reviewed material can be either secondary or primary. Teaching in the second part is organized as a series of supervision workshops where students and teacher(s) meet and discuss selection and assessment of their respective research fields.
The aim of the course is to offer first-hand, research-embedded knowledge by ex-perts in the field, which means that the exact content every year will depend on the teaching researchers. The exact content of the course, including readings, is an-nounced every Fall, at least two months before the course starts. Longer descrip-tions of the different content alternatives are outlined below under section B.

Citizenship, Diversity, Exclusion, 15 credits


Citizenship represents the highest form of membership in a political community. As any other form of membership, it includes some and excludes others. Some forms of exclusion are direct and absolute, others indirect and relative. This mod-ule explores the many and complex ways of citizenship inclusion/exclusion in di-verse societies. It relates, on the one hand, to questions of formal access to citizen-ship through birth and naturalization for immigrants, refugees and their descend-ants. And, on the other hand, to questions of equal access to citizenship and rights for ethnic, religious and national minorities. The overall objective is to improve understanding of citizenship as a partly closed, partly open membership, and its varying form and functions in diverse societies. The primary aim is description, comparison and explanation of existing citizenship practices and institutions, but questions of legitimacy and justice will also be addressed.
The module consists of lectures that introduce the core readings and the research field, and seminars focused on actual case studies of different aspects of citizenship and inclusion/exclusion. The course is examined through a combination of oral and written assignments. Seminar attendance is compulsory and lecture attend-ance is strongly recommended.

Intersectional Toolbox for Migration Studies, 15 credits


What and how research is done affects decision-making processes on local, national and global levels, and IMER-related scholarship is an important actor within politi-cal and social power relations. It is therefore important to continuously scrutinize ethical and methodological aspects of IMER knowledge production, and question how it contributes to changing or maintaining the status quo of these relations. This module aims to provide students with a ‘methodological toolbox’ for reading of IMER-related scholarship by critically reading and discussing both theoretical and empirical texts.
It addresses the relationship between academic scholarship and power, particularly in policy making, but also in social relationships by adopting an intersectional, an-thropological, and critical perspective. The module addresses two themes in partic-ular: (A) It considers how norms and values are part of both theory and practice on and of migration research and policy making, and (B) it looks into how norms and values are experienced and negotiated by those who do migration and the research of it – ‘migrants’ and migration scholars.
The module consists of lectures and obligatory seminars, as well as peer review writing workshops where students analyze chosen texts based on the course’s per-spectives. The latter will culminate in a written essay that will serve as the course examination.

Populism and Democracy, 15 credits


Populism is often used in the public debate as an insult, a label you attach to someone you ultimately dislike and is short-time oriented in his approach to solve political issues. But is populism really the anti-thesis of democracy? Is populism an ideology, a style, a logic or a discourse? The first part of the course deals with the conceptual issues and how the concept can be used for empirical analysis. This sec-tion connects populism to societal processes and external events relevant for the reciprocal interaction between the political reproduction of national identities, the transformation of European welfare systems, and contemporary politics of migra-tion. In the second part of the course feature case specific illustrations of the party-political environment, civil society mobilization, media representations and popu-lar attitudes towards immigration, before and after the so-called refugee crisis. To instigate this further the course will dwell deeper into various empirical settings in Europe, but also beyond. The teaching techniques will employ a blend of lectures, regular seminar and role-play events. The course is examined in written form dis-playing the ability of applying the concept of populism analytically. The student will receive substantial feedback in written form.

Race and ethnicity in the contemporary world, 15 credits


The main objective of this course is to introduce and deepen the knowledge of the theories of race and ethnicity. The emphasis in this course is on developing a gen-eral theoretical understanding of what race and ethnicity means and how they matter in the contemporary world we live in. Concepts like stereotypes and mi-croaggressions will be discussed in line with modern perceptions of harm in the digital age.
Through lectures, discussions and watching films, we relate the theories to real examples and deepen our understanding of race and ethnicity in the contemporary world. It is expected that the students participate in the lectures and discussions actively. The examination consists of one individually written paper on a chosen topic within the thematic limitations of the course.
The course is divided in two parts: 1) a series of lectures that serve a diverse “buf-fet” of subjects and research fields with extensive readings, and 2) a series of feed-back seminars focused on the individual paper projects of the students. The course requires a higher level of independent work and critical thinking than previous courses on the program. Students are strongly advised to keep an even pace with the assigned readings for the lectures, because acquaintance with the research field is a precondition for the formulation and development of interesting and relevant research papers.

Refugees and Asylum Law, 15 credits


The course gives a broad overview of refugee studies and contemporary challenges within the field. This course covers the central concepts relating to the study of refugees and asylum, the state of the world’s refugees and displaced persons, the role of governmental and intergovernmental institutions in national and interna-tional refugee work, the relation between international, EU and national asylum law from a historical and a contemporary perspective. The course combines legal, theoretical and policy approaches. This course therefore covers the central concepts relating to the study of refugees and asylum, the state of the world’s refugees and displaced persons, the role of governmental and intergovernmental institutions in national and international refugee work, the relation between international, EU and national asylum law from a historical and a contemporary perspective. The course combines legal, theoretical and policy approaches.

Representing migration: politics, media and museums, 15 credits


Migration is one of the phenomena that has set the tone for our times. But how are migration and migrants represented in public? The representation of migration and migrants is important, in as much as it (re)establishes power relations and shapes people’s understanding of the world. In other words, representations often have direct implications on policy and politics.
The aim of this module is to analyse representations in various societal spheres: politics, media and museums. The focus will be on both the representations as such and the very processes in which they are created. We will for example discuss current features in the political sphere, such as the notion of “crisis” and the on-going securitization of migration. The module will also address problems connect-ed to stereotyping and exoticising migrants and discuss how the representations could be improved.
The module consists of lectures and seminars where we will discuss theoretical perspectives on representation, and empirical examples from politics, media and museums. In the second part of the course the students are given the opportunity to focus on a specific cases study. The course is examined through a combination of oral and written assignments.

Social trust, migration and diversity, 15 credits


According to George Simmel – sometimes described as the founding father of sociology – “[t]rust is one of the most important synthetic forces within society” (Simmel, 1950: 326). But what is trust? How does it develop and erode? And, how does it relate to migration and diversity?
The aim of this course is to explore the meaning and role of social trust in diverse, immigrant societies. The course starts with an overview and discussion of two clas-sical thinkers of sociology, Emile Durkheim and George Simmel. The concept of social trust is then traced forward and compared to contemporary research, with a special focus on international migration and ethnic relations. The course ends with a practical application and analysis of social trust, in which the students draw on data from the European Social Survey.
The course is examined through a combination of i) active participation in the seminars and ii) independent analysis of the survey data, which is presented orally and in writing.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Course evaluation

The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the Uni-versity. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evalua-tions as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).

Interim rules

If a course is no longer offered or has undergone major changes, students will be offered two re-take sessions based on the syllabus in force at registration during a period of one year from the date of the implementation of the changes.


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the Department of Global Political Studies.

Further information

GPSstudent - Malmö universitet,
Inge Dahlstedt, Course Coordinator
Phone: 040-6657557


18 January 2021 - 06 June 2021 Day-time 100% Malmö Application code: mau-11816

National application round

Tuition fees

for non-EU students only

First instalment: 39000 SEK
Full tuition Fee: 39000 SEK

Open for late application


17 January 2022 - 05 June 2022 Day-time 100% Malmö

16 January 2023 - 04 June 2023 Day-time 100% Malmö