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Stephen Castles

Professor StephenStephen Castles is an Honorary Research Associate of the International Migration Institute and holds a Research Chair in Sociology at the University of Sydney.


Research focus

Stephen’s main research project is on Social Transformation and International Migration in the 21st Century, with fieldwork in Australia, Ghana, Mexico and the Republic of Korea. This five-year project will re-examine the theoretical and methodological basis of international migration research. Policy-makers and scholars concerned with migration often see it as abnormal and inherently problematic, and seek strategies to reduce movements. By contrast, the starting point for this project is the assumption that human mobility is a normal part of social life. At times of rapid change, such as the current epoch of accelerated globalisation, international migration tends to grow in volume and to become increasingly important as a factor helping to reshape societies. Migration should therefore by seen not just as a result of change nor a cause of change, but as an integral part of social transformation processes.


Stephen is a sociologist and political economist, and works on international migration dynamics, global governance, multiculturalism, transnationalism, migration and development, and regional migration trends in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. His research and publications have made an influential contribution to the development of interdisciplinary migration research for many years.

Stephen Castles was Professor of Migration and Refugee Studies and Director of the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford until August 2009. From 2001-2006, he was Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University.

Stephen Castles studied sociology at Frankfurt am Main, and took an MA and DPhil at the University of Sussex. He was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1997. He has carried out research on migration and multicultural societies in Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. He has also been involved in community education work in the UK and Southern Africa. Castles taught Sociology and Political Economy at the Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main from 1972-85.

From 1986 to 2000 Stephen was Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Multicultural Studies (1986-96) and then Director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies, at the University of Wollongong, Australia. From 1994 to 2001, Castles helped establish and coordinate the UNESCO-MOST Asia Pacific Migration Research Network. He has been an advisor to the Australian and British Governments, and has worked for the ILO, the IOM, the European Union and other international bodies.


Among a large number of publications, Stephen Castles' books include:

  • Migration and Development: Perspectives from the South (with Raul Delgado Wise, editors, IOM 2008)
    Available to download as a pdf
  • Migration, Citizenship and the European Welfare State: A European Dilemma (with Carl-Ulrik Schierup and Peo Hansen, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)
  • Citizenship and Migration: Globalization and the Politics of Belonging (with Alastair Davidson, London: Macmillan, 2000)
  • Ethnicity and Globalization: From Migrant Worker to Transnational Citizen (London: Sage, 2000)
  • Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe (with Godula Kosack, London: Oxford University Press, 1973)
IMI Seminar Series

IMI Seminar SeriesEvery Wednesday of Trinity term
from 1-2pm
Seminar Room 3,
3 Mansfield Road Sandwiches will be provided
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