Lea Müller-Funk / Christiane Fröhlich / André Bank

Disentangling Forced Migration Governance: Actors and Drivers along the Displacement Continuum

International Migration Review | 2023

  • Abstract

    In this paper, we study the question of who and what drives forced migration governance in origin, host, and transit states, drawing on empirical material from the contemporary Syrian and Libyan, and the historical Algerian displacement situations. These three cases are examples for different forced migration governance approaches, ranging from open-supportive (Algeria), to restrictive-selective (Syria) and laissez-faire (Libya). We identify three key drivers of forced migration governance to explain variation in governance outcome: domestic, geopolitical, and international-normative drivers. We understand forced migration governance as a state-making strategy for different state and non-state actors in origin, transit, and host countries. We argue that while forced migration governance is negotiated around humanitarian principles in which international organizations and civil society play a crucial role, the international-normative driver remains strongly bound to domestic and geopolitical logics. Political and economic interests are key factors of forced migration governance in host countries, especially if they align with political interests and state-making strategies of state and non-state actors in origin countries.

    Research Programmes


    International Migration Review

    Number of Pages



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