Migration and Conflict

Avinoam Cohen

Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law (3 credits)


Across the world, migration has become highly politicized and is frequently associated with conflict. In many cases, population movements lead to multifaceted conflicts with state institutions or indigenous populations at destination. Upon a closer view, however, we find that migration does not always result in conflict. Confrontations between immigrants and locals are observed in some cities and states, but not in others. Conflicts can appear at different levels, assumes diverse characteristics and erupt around distinct issue areas. Migration related conflicts can transform over time, intensify in some cases and decline or resolve in others.


This seminar focuses on the intersection of migration and conflict. We will juxtapose different theoretical explanations for migration and of conflicts that arise in the context of human mobility. We will consider cross-national differences in treatment of immigrant groups and discuss how state institutions and civil society might affect the outcome and transformation of conflicts.

This course should prepare students to:

  1.  Identify main theories of international migration and explanations for conflict that arise in the context of population movements.
  2. Recognize societal, political and economic drivers of immigration policies.
  3. Compare local interactions with immigrants and immigration conflicts.
  4. Evaluate the potential of particular policies and other planned interventions to prevent or resolve conflicts.


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