Migration and Nationalism Research Group

The Migration and Nationalism research group covers a wide range of dimensions of nationalism and migration, including perceptions and challenges of belonging, national-minorities rights and governance, economic impact of immigration, coexistence in multilingual societies, food and nationalism, xenophobia and right-wing populism.

The group is home to several PhD and postdoctoral researchers who are carrying out research within the field.

Group coordinator: Dr Atsuko Ichijo

Current and recent funded projects

Feeding Britain: personal and professional experiences of food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic and the policy implications of these (April–July 2021)

  • PI: Dr Ronald Ranta.
  • Co-investigators: Dr Hilda Mulrooney from the nutrition department at Kingston and Dr Dee Bhakta from Metropolitan University.

The project (funded by CResCID) seeks to explore the experiences and perceptions of those involved in the provision of food aid, or who have received it. In particular, the experiences of food aid organisations and their employees and volunteers in response to the Covid-19 pandemic will be explored. In addition, the nutritional value of food parcels given in food aid will be evaluated and compared with national recommendations. The implications of the findings will inform a series of policy recommendations on the provision and coordination of food aid in the UK.

The collaboration with Hilda Mulrooney has also resulted in the publication of an open access article in February:
Ranta, Ronald and Hilda Mulrooney (2021) Pandemics, food (in)security, and leaving the EU: What does the Covid-19 pandemic tell us about food insecurity and Brexit?, Social Sciences & Humanities Open, 3(1)

Ethnic food shops for migrant inclusion (2021)

  • Coordinators: Dr Ronald Ranta and Nevena Nancheva

CResCID seed funding (2021) for a comparative project studying the role of ethnic food shops in generating migrant inclusion dynamics in diverse urban environments. The project consortium is currently across eight partners (research institutes in urban planning and sustainability, area studies and migration) in six European countries (UK, Italy, Greece, Austria, Belgium, Sweden). The focus is on implementation and policy.

Sexual humanitarianism: migration, sex work and trafficking (SEXHUM), 2015-2020

  • Coordinator: Professor Nick Mai

An international European Research Council funded study of migration, sex work and trafficking in Australia, France, New Zealand and the US. Professor Nick Mai leads this investigation of the impact of anti-trafficking and humanitarian and social interventions, which target migrant sex workers in strategic urban settings.

The project's aim is to contribute to more efficient and ethical policies that address migrants working in the global sex industry. It adopts an innovative and multidisciplinary methodology including long term participant observation, qualitative interviewing and participative ethnographic filmmaking to analyse migrants' own understandings and experiences of agency and exploitation.

EU migrants in the UK: perceptions and challenges of belonging

  • Coordinators: Dr Ronald Ranta and Nevena Nancheva

A British Academy and Leverhulme Trust-financed 18-month project. The research seeks to outline, from an interdisciplinary perspective, the phenomenon of migration from the EU within the national context of the UK. The focus is the impact of migration on EU migrants' identities, their sense of belonging and their place in British society and in the wider European context.

The development and transformation of political subjectivity in East Asia focusing on Taiwan and Hong Kong (1 May 2018 to 31 October 2019)

  • Coordinator: Dr Atsuko Ichijo

A research project funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants. This is a pilot study to develop methodology to research on the development of political subjectivity in the non-western context, in particular, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The two sites are chosen due to their positioning at the periphery of the Sino-centric world order before the incorporation in the Westphalian order. The project entailed fieldwork in Taiwan and Hong Kong and a concluding workshop with the main partner, Academia Sinica, Taipei on 3 September 2019. The workshop was entitled ‘Islands and Mainlands: Nationalism, State-formation and Centre-Periphery Relationship' and addressed by nine speakers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK. Due to the political situation in Hong Kong, the workshop was invitation-only and about 40 academics, mainly from Taiwan, attended. A proceedings collecting all presentations was produced by Academia Sinica.

Marginal migrants: deportation of EU criminals and human rights in Brexit Britain (2018).

  • Coordinator: Dr Nevena Nancheva

The project explores the conflict between notions of the public good and human rights in the deportation of EU criminals with family members in the UK.

Recent events

Brexit and food (23 May 2019)

Dr Atsuko Ichijo and Dr Ronald Ranta participated in a Political Quarterly special issue workshop on Brexit and food, Birkbeck, University of London.

The emergence of national food (21 May 2019)

Seminar on 'The Emergence of National Food' (co-organised with the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN) by Atsuko Ichijo, Ronald Ranta and Venetia Johannes, co-editors of The Emergence of National Food (2018, Bloomsbury).

The end of globalisation? (6 March 2019)

The End of Globalisation? What Food and Politics Tell Us About the State of Globalisation

(Organisers: Atsuko Ichijo and Ronald Ranta.)

EU migrants in the UK: events, talks and workshops (2016–17)

Nevena Nancheva and Ronald Ranta organised and ran a number of public events and a series of talks and workshops relating to their EU Migrants in the UK project. These include:

  • Two one-day workshops on issues concerning EU migrants in the UK in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. These were held on 30  November 2016 and 15 February 2017. These workshops involved leading experts in the field as well as relevant stakeholders.
  • Conference on EU migrants in the UK held at Kingston University on 5 July 2017.

Impact and public engagement

Dr Radu Cinpoes

Dr Radu Cinpoes' research has played an instrumental role in the development of several projects, debates and events led by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Foundation aimed at increasing public awareness and understanding of right-wing extremism in Romania. His work has also been used by FES Romania to develop education tools to combat radicalisation.

Professor Nick Mai

Professor Nick Mai (SEXHUM) produced with the organisation Médecins du Monde a report to assess the impact on sex workers' living and working conditions of the law passed by the French government in 2016 on prostitution. Mai also contributed to the Australian Government's Public Consultation Paper on the National Action Plan to Combat Modern Slavery 2020-24.

National and international media

Members of this group regularly engage with national and international media.

  • Dr Cinpoes: Radio London, BBC4, BBC Russia, Agencia EFE (the largest Spanish language news agency), the Huffington Post, Radio France International/Romania and Digi TV Romania (largest privately own news channel in Romania)
  • Dr Ranta: Haaretz (Israel); BBC news
  • Professor Mai: Open Democracy.

Contact us

Dr Atsuko Ichijo
Department of Politics
Email: A.Ichijo@kingston.ac.uk