Call for Papers — Decision-Making under Uncertainty: African Migrants in the Spotlight

In the context of the Swiss-Subsaharan African Migration Network (S-SAM), we’re now looking for paper contributions for a thematic issue at the open access journal Social Inclusion. Feel free to contact me for information.

Submission of Abstracts: 1-15 May 2020
Submission of Full Papers: 15-30 September 2020
Publication of the Issue: March 2021

Information: The objective of this thematic issue is to better understand how migrants decide whether to migrate and where to migrate to by considering the limited information available to them. Existing work is informed by two distinct literatures. Migration studies developed two-step models distinguishing ambitions to migrate from the capability to migrate, while contributions in economics and psychology have sharpened our understanding that we often make decisions without perfect information.

Without communication between literatures, however, we do not understand well why immigrants try to reach countries in the Global North despite seemingly impossible odds. The articles should use mostly qualitative and mixed methods to study migration decisions in countries of origin and transit, to better understand how imperfect and contradictory information affects decisions. They highlight the role of narratives and expectations, and how human biases and bounded rationality matter for ambitions to migrate, and what migrants do to maximize the capability to migrate.

Articles will focus on the initial decision to leave countries of origin—why individuals take considerable risks and often take on debt in their endeavour to reach countries in the Global North, risks that seem disproportional to the likely gains, as most immigrants never reach their destination, and many are unable to fulfil their expectations. Articles will also focus on what happens during the journey where formal and informal migration may be mixed. They explore how different narratives influence the migration journey as individuals learn more about the risks and likely outcomes. Articles focusing on student migrants in particular, a migration channel experiencing a recent surge without much attention in academia, are especially welcome. With the increasingly difficult routes across the Mediterranean, some individuals formally sign up for studies in countries such as Northern Cyprus as an intermediate destination.

Instructions for Authors: Authors interested in submitting a paper for this issue are asked to consult the journal’s instructions for authors and send their abstracts in a Word file (about 250 words, with a tentative title and reference to the thematic issue) by email to the Editorial Office ( When submitting their abstracts, authors are also asked to confirm that they are aware that Social Inclusion is an open access journal with a publishing fee if the article is accepted for publication after peer-review (corresponding authors affiliated with our institutional members do not incur this fee).

Open Access:  The journal has an article publication fee to cover its costs and guarantee that the article can be accessed free of charge by any reader, anywhere in the world, regardless of affiliation. We defend that authors should not have to personally pay this fee and advise them to check with their institutions if funds are available to cover open access publication fees. Institutions can also join Cogitatio’s Membership Program at a very affordable rate and enable all affiliated authors to publish without incurring any fees. Further information about the journal’s open access charges and institutional members can be found here.

Review of ‘Politicisation of Migration’ (“SOM Book”)

Almost exactly two years after the publication of The Politicisation of Migration, the book outlining some of they key findings from the SOM project on the politicization of migration, I am happy to announce a review of the book in REFUGE – Canada’s Journal on Refugees. Mark Maguire does a commendable job of synthesizing the book and highlighting potential future areas of work. The book is available from Routledge.

New Publication: The Gap between Public Preferences and Policies on Immigration

Just days after announcing the “SOM book” (Politicization of Immigration), I have the pleasure to announce another product from the SOM project: The Gap between Public Preferences and Policies on Immigration: A Comparative Examination of the Effect of Politicisation on Policy Congruence in JEMS. In this paper Laura Morales, Jean-Benoit Pilet and I examine the purported gap between (restrictive) public opinion on immigration and (expansive) policies by the elite.
Using data from the SOM project and a range of public opinion polls, we consider the situation across seven countries and 15 years (1995 to 2010). This provides a better insight in what is one of the most salient policy domains in contemporary Europe than was done previously. There is no evidence that strong anti-immigrant parties have anything to do with differences between public opinion and elite policies. Just like what I found in my monograph on political representation, it turns out that salience plays a key role. When negative attitudes in the population are combined with extensive media coverage, we observe high levels of policy congruence.