Migration theory: perspectives on time and temporalities

Course Description

​This course explores the diverse roles of time in migration processes, as a key vantage point on migration theory. It thus reflects the so-called temporal turn in migration studies. The content of the course deliberately spans diverse approaches to the study of time, from quantitative analyses of time series to ethnographic research on experiential temporalities. This broad scope fosters theoretical sensitivity and versatility. Key concepts in the course include linear time, historical time, biographical time, past, present, future, time-space, flows, trajectories, moments, rhythms, cycles, tempos, trends, synchronicity, conjuncture, disjuncture, hope, waiting, life course, and generation. The course connects these concepts to to mobility and immobility, migration processes, transnationalism, and the impacts of emigration and immigration. It combines a theoretical focus on time and temporalities with attention to the ways in which temporal dimensions are reflected in key approaches to migration theory. The lecturers draw upon their own migration research experience, across themes, contexts and methods. The expected outcome is for participants to develop their analytical awareness and dexterity in engaging with the temporal dimensions of migration. 

Course Details


Jørgen Carling is Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and co-director of the PRIO Migration Centre. His research covers global migration, immobility and transnationalism, seeking to explain how migration arises, and how it affects societies, families and individuals. He holds a PhD in Human Geography and combines ethnographic and statistical methods, often in mixed-methods research designs. He currently leads MIGNEX, a large 10-country project on migration and development, as well as the ERC-funded project Future Migration as Present Fact (FUMI).

Marta Bivand Erdal is Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and co-director of the PRIO Migration Centre. She is a Human Geographer and has conducted research in South Asia (mainly Pakistan), Norway and Poland. Her research is mainly based on qualitative methods, using semi-structured interviews and focus groups, focusing on innovative approaches to sampling and data collection in migration research. Her current projects include the ERC-funded Migration Rhythms in Trajectories of Upward Social Mobility in Asia.


​Application deadline: 18 April 2022.

We aim to process applications within the a week after the deadline.


​1) Commitment to taking part in the entire course, including the online day (20 June) and the on-site days (27-28 June).

2) Preparation of discussion points. Admitted participants will be asked to prepare discussion points that relate to assigned readings.

3) Active participation in class discussions: The course will be run as a seminar, where debate and discussion are the norm. 

Optional: To earn course certificate that stipulates it to 5 ECTS credits, students must submit an essay that is marked as “pass”.


The course is free of charge, but students will have to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. Readings may include books that participants are required to borrow or purchase.

PhD students will normally be prioritized.

Application Form

managing editor: Tong Meng

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