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* Some recent Final Year Projects (TFGs) of the BA in Geography and Territorial Planning that are related to migration studies at UAB:


* Ada Sedó (June 2021): The recent evolution of rural Priorat’s population and economy: a geographic analysis of the microvillage of la Bisbal de Falset (Tarragona). [Supervisor: Ricard Morén-Alegret].

* Roger Escribà (June 2021): (Re)Depopulation in small villages of Urgell county (Lleida). A geographical analysis of municipalities with fewer than 500 inhabitants. [Supervisor: Ricard Morén-Alegret].

* Toni Barceló (June 2021): Geographical comparison on environmental, social and economic sustainability in villages of Empordà (Girona) and Mallorca (Balearic Islands). An analysis of Colera and Deià. [Supervisor: Ricard Morén-Alegret].

* Mariona Kirchner (June 2020): “Exploring Sustainable Development in L’Estany Municipality. Recent Evolution and Prospects” [Supervisor: Ricard Morén-Alegret].

* Francisco Viudez (June 2020): “Exploració sobre el (des)poblament humà recent de Josa i Tuixén (Alt Urgell). Anàlisi documental (Pre)Pirinenca durant l’estat d’alarma per la Covid-19” [Supervisor: Ricard Morén-Alegret].

* Javier Gutiérrez (January 2020): “Exploración sobre turismo musical, desarrollo sostenible e inmigración. Una aproximación al caso de Escalarre, la Guingueta d’Àneu (Pallars Sobirà, Pirineos de Lleida)” [Supervisor: Ricard Morén-Alegret].


* Some recent university courses devoted to migration studies at UAB:

--> "MIGRATION & SOCIETY" on-line course

(including activities at the UAB Humanities & Arts Faculty & surroundings)

4th year course, Geography & Territorial Planning Degree, 2018-2019 academic year, 2nd term (February-June 2019), UAB. Teaching language: English.


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--> "MIGRATION & SOCIETY" on-site course

(UAB Humanities & Arts Faculty)

4th year course, Geography & Territorial Planning Degree, 2017-2018 academic year, 2nd term (February-June 2018), UAB. Teaching language: English.


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* Some Doctoral Theses linked to UAB-GRM (2007-2018):

--> PhD Thesis title: Living in a Global Village. Migrations and experiences in Cadaqués (Catalonia, Spain) / Habiter un village global. Migrations et expériences à Cadaqués (Catalogne, Espagne)

Author: Josepha Milazzo

Directors: Virginie Baby-Colin (AMU) & Ricard Morén-Alegret (UAB)

Submission of thesis at AMU and UAB: October 2018

PhD Viva: 6 December 2018 (Aix-en-Provence, AMU, France)

Abstract: This thesis, which seeks to formalize a psycho-social geographical situation, reviews the role of the psyche and of space in individuation and the relationship with the other by studying everyday life in Cadaqués, a semi-rural tourist village on Spain’s Costa Brava, situated in the heart of the Catalan region of Empordà on the South-Mediterranean coast. This village has a diverse local population, given the presence of European and non-European immigrants who are often reduced to the status of foreign seasonal and temporary workers, often long-term. In this shared community, with a wide variety of rich and complex lives, co-habitation with outsiders leads to the emergence of several subgroups based on hierarchical social position and promotion of a so-called native authenticity. A transcalar interpretation of spatial changes and a biographical approach on human experience permits an assessment of contemporary transformations in this village as part of the global world and of different forms of co-habitation that emanate from this situation. It describes a space constituted by a secular interaction of a wide range of material and idealistic changes, while at the same time, exposing the variations negotiated between individuals along community lines and influenced by various interests, despite their shared existential misfortunes and aspirations. This analysis, which is based on a qualitative survey of an ethnographic terrain, interviews with different categories of residents, statistical data, press articles, and mapping, reveals daily life functioning within a plurality of universes. Geohistorical catalysts of notoriety and adherence to globalization processes of the village of Cadaqués, as well as issues arising from a co-habitation between native population and visitors, are both highlighted by inter/national migrations. This extended case study takes a distanced, situated and ordinarized approach to questioning the participation of migrants in their village, a participation that is more often analysed in an urban environment from the perspective of methodological ethnicism and inclusiveness. With the rise in racism, political short-term vision and disputes over conformity to democratic principles, specifically the right to live and move around Europe and the West, this thesis demonstrates the importance of initiating a renewed prospective and utopic approach to a respectful sociality that is capable of promoting otherness and a citizenship that permits both rooting and mobility.


--> PhD Thesis title: Foreign immigration around natural areas. An international comparison between localities of Alt Empordà (Spain) and Alentejo Litoral (Portugal) / Immigració estrangera a l’entorn d’espais d'interès natural. Una comparació internacional entre localitats de l’Alt Empordà (Espanya) i l’Alentejo Litoral (Portugal)

Author: Albert Mas Palacios (UAB)

Director: Ricard Morén-Alegret (UAB)

Submission of thesis at UAB: 28 February 2014

PhD Viva: 8 April 2014

Abstract: This research aims to study the immigration of foreign nationality established around natural areas, carrying out an international comparison between localities of Alt Empordà (Spain) and the Alentejo Litoral (Portugal). Mainly through a qualitative approach, is investigated the role that have played the natural areas of these territories (and the protection figures) in the arrival and establishment of these populations in the study areas. In this way, the attention is focused on the existence of different types of foreign residents in each area, observing a variety in terms of their migratory and settlement motivations and its kind of relationship with the nearby natural areas. Simultaneously is found that the differences detected in the profiles of the foreign residents, largely orient the observed differences regarding the role played by the natural areas in the arrival and settlement of these foreigners. Beyond foreign population, the research also draws attention to the perception of the local population regarding the nearby natural areas and the figures that affect them. Finally, from an Iberian context, we try to contribute to the debates around the counterurbanization concept, the naturbanitzation concept, the environmental migration and the sometimes diffuse distinction between economic-labour and lifestyle migrations.


--> PhD Thesis title: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Mediterranean region. Climate out of balance in Aiguamolls de l’Empordà?

Author: Sandra Fatoric (UAB)

Director: Ricard Morén-Alegret (UAB)

Submission of thesis at UAB: 20 December 2013

PhD Viva: 20 February 2014

Abstract: The focus of Phd thesis is on climate change as one of the essential aspects of environmental change. The overarching goal of the thesis is to identify, develop, and explain the vulnerability assessment for the community and livelihoods in Aiguamolls de l’Empordà in the face of climate change and to identify and explain principal measures for adaptation. First, the thesis aims to analyse climate change variables for the study area. Then it turns its attention to assess the dimensions of community’s vulnerability to climate change in the study area in order to identify ways in which the adaptive capacity can be increased and exposure and sensitivity decreased. Thirdly, it focuses on identifying and evaluating the most appropriate technical, economic and structural adaptation measures to respond to vulnerability. This can help to highlight which measures may reduce vulnerability most effectively. Lastly, the aim is to provide an understanding of possible future outmigration fr om study area and accounting for migration not only as a consequence of climate change impacts, but as a part of adaptive response to change. The study area, however, serves as an example for many regions along the Mediterranean coast, lying below or around sea level.


--> PhD Thesis title: Inter-Ethnic Experiences of Polish Immigrants in South-Western European Neighborhoods. Comparing Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, and Empuriabrava, Castelló d’Empúries.

Author: Dawid Wladyka (UAB)

Directors: Ricard Morén-Alegret & Àngels Pascual de Sans (UAB)

Submission of thesis at UAB: 30 September 2013

PhD Viva: 28 November 2013 (UAB).

Abstract: This dissertation focuses on the inter-ethnic experiences of Polish immigrants in the Sagrada Familia neighborhood in Barcelona and Empuriabrava neighborhood in Castelló d'Empúries. The analysis is based on the semi-structured interviews with Polish immigrants and local key informants, supplemented by documental research. The tested hypothesis assumes that the inter-ethnic experiences of Polish immigrants lead to emergence of the opinions about ethnically diverse neighborhoods and about particular ethnic groups contacted during everyday’s life, while the socio-economic and spatial factors modulate both, the possibilities of experiences and the consequent opinions. The results show that variety of socio-spatial factors, like life-stage or urban fabric, influences the possibilities of inter-ethnic experiences.  The study also demonstrates that contact with other ethnic groups resulted with positive opinions as far as economic and symbolic threats empowered by economic recession did not appear. Therefore, the findings support the interdisciplinary approaches to inter-ethnic relations learned mostly from the discrepancies between Contact and Conflict theories. The results empower comparative focus on immigrants’ integration in the neighborhoods of large cities and small towns, while acknowledging the importance of socio-spatial features of interactions in context of built and natural environments.


--> PhD Thesis title: Migration movement between Pakistan and South Western Europe: Pakistani migratory networks in Catalonia.

Author: Montserrat Feixas (UAB / UNHCR)

Directors: Ricard Morén-Alegret & Àngels Pascual de Sans (UAB)

Submission of thesis at UAB: September 2007

PhD Viva: 19 December 2007.

Abstract: Among the many migrant communities in the world, this doctoral dissertation focuses on the Pakistani community in Catalonia and the networks they have established to consolidate and expand their presence there.
In addition, this thesis studies the situation of families and the communities of origin in Pakistan to try to understand the processes that have led to this migratory phenomenon, the present situation of the Pakistani population in Catalonia, the impact of migration on their families in Pakistan, and the short and medium term prospects for this migratory movement.
The Pakistani community in Catalonia presents an interesting case study not because of the migratory movement itself, rather because the movement takes place in the absence of cultural, historical or linguistic links between Pakistan and Catalonia, and because of its fast expansion. A second objective is to give voice to the participants in the research and through them, to the Pakistani community in Catalonia and their families and communities of origin.
During the second half of the 20th century, many theories, models and systems were developed to try to explain international migration. However these theories fail to explain the social and economic reality of the Pakistani population in Catalonia and their families in Pakistan. Nonetheless, they may help understand the migratory phenomenon, and therefore they may be used as a set of instruments that help capture a complex and constantly changing reality.
The research shows that Pakistanis migrate to Catalonia prompted by the economic differential between the two countries and the perceived low risks/costs attached to it. The great majority of Pakistanis in Catalonia had an anchor before proceeding, be it a friend, a relative or even an acquaintance, that was crucial in facilitating their arrival and initial introduction. The common geographical origin of most of them shows the existence of migratory networks based on family and social relations.
The overall objective is to provide more and better for their families. But this is a medium or long term objective. Initially most of them need to recoup their or their family's initial investment to send them abroad, and only afterwards they can start saving for their families. Facilitating the arrival of other migrants is not an objective per se, bur rather an unintended effect.
Catalonia is not the migrants' preferred destination. The research findings indicate that the choice was made on the basis of a cost benefit analysis, i.e. they selected the destination which was the least costly and which brought the greatest benefits in the short term.
In summary, in the coming years Pakistani migration to Catalonia will continue and will probably grow exponentially through the arrival of mostly men, but also women and children, as long as economic and political conditions remain the same, or experience only minor variations. This growth will lead to the strengthening of existing Pakistani enclaves in Barcelona city, and the emergence of new ones in Barcelona and in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, and to a lesser degree in Girona, Tarragona and eventually Lleida. These enclaves will function as a pull factor attracting many more Pakistanis to Catalonia.
Based on the research findings and the experience of Pakistani migratory movements to other European destinations, Pakistani immigrants are likely to remain separate from the local population. Their desire to integrate will focus on the economic sphere, and only a few, better educated individuals, will be ready to establish and develop cultural and social links with the Catalan society. There is likely to be a strong resistance to adopt any mores of the host society and particularly to merge with it.
Despite their longing for Pakistan and Pakistani society, the majority of them will remain in Catalonia and will settle here, thus sustaining the Pakistani migratory movement and contributing to its expansion through the strengthening of existing enclaves and the emergence of new ones.