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CURRICULUM VITÆ: Professor Robin Cohen BA, MSc, PhD, D.Litt

  I Personal

 Professor Robin Cohen
Director, International Migration Institute
Department of International Development
Queen Elizabeth House
University of Oxford
3 Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TB

+44 (0)1865 280 746 (Office phone)
+44 (0)1865 281 801 (Office fax)
E–MAIL address


II Memberships

 Global Studies Association (President, 2004–6; Founding Member and Vice President, 2000–1)
Honorary Member, South African Sociological Association (Elected, 2001)
African Studies Association, USA (1970–6)
African Studies Association, UK (Executive Council Member, 1975–7, 1980–3)
British Sociological Association (Convenor, Development Group, 1973–4)
Development Studies Association, UK (Member Founding Steering Group, 1976–7)
European Association for Refugee Research (President, 1994–6)
Institute of Race Relations, UK (approx. 1969–1980)
International Sociological Association (Member, Research Committee on Migration; Publications Committee)
Social Science Research Council, USA (Member, International Migration Program Committee, 1995–9)
Society for Caribbean Studies, UK (Member, Executive Committee, 1983–4)


III Selected Publications


8 Migration and its enemies: global capital, migrant labour and the nation-state Aldershot: Ashgate 2006, pp. 252

Can politicians effectively control national borders even if they wish to do so? How do politically powerless migrants relate to more privileged migrants and to national citizens? Is it possible for capital to move to labour rather than vice versa?  And could trade substitute for migration? In this book Robin Cohen shows how the preferences, interests and actions of the three major social actors in international migration policy global capital, migrant labour and national politicians intersect and often contradict each other. In pre-press publicity, Donna R. Gabaccia (University of Minnesota) writes ‘Migration and its Enemies delivers all we have come to expect over the years from Robin Cohen. It is hard to imagine the potential reader who could finish this book without having at least one cherished assumption fundamentally challenged.’

7 Global sociology (with Paul Kennedy) Basingstoke: Macmillan and New York: New York University Press 2000, pp. 408. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Reprinted 2001, 2002, 2004. Japanese translation 2003. Second expanded and revised edition January 2007

This is a large, introductory volume, which is also theoretically innovative. The focus is comparative with many examples drawn from all over the world. There are 40 plates, and a large number of figures and maps. In pre-press publicity David Chaney, Durham University, said ‘There are some fantastic achievements here … The use of examples, the glossary, and text boxes all work well’. Martin Shaw, University of Sussex, avers that ‘Global Sociology fulfils a major role as a textbook of a new kind’ (Sociology 2002).

6 Global diasporas: an introduction London: UCL Press and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997 pp. 228. Reprinted 1999, 2000. Reprinted 2001 by Routledge. Japanese translation (Toyko: Akahi Shoten, 2001) by Komai Hiroshi. Greek Translation, with new preface, Athens: 2003 pp. 374. Revised edition 2008.

Designed to introduce a series of 10 volumes on global diasporas, this book constructs and innovative typology and covers the changing meanings of ‘diaspora’ and the contemporary diasporic condition. Among the many reviews appears this comment: ‘Cohen is doing for diaspora what Weber did for religion' (Fran Markowitz, American Anthropologist, June 1999).

5 Frontiers of identity: the British and the others London: Longman, and New York: Addison Wesley, 1994 pp. 248.

This book analyses the construction and crisis in British identity in the late twentieth century. In his review Khalid Koser wrote: ‘While objectivity is ensured with the use of an extensive and balanced range of sources, and by Cohen’ s fabulous control of the language, the author’s deep concern about recent trends of exclusion is never far from the surface’ (New Community 21 (2) April 1995).

4 Contested domains: debates in international labour studies London: Zed Press, 1991 pp. 188

A collection of 10 revised essays written over the period 1972–90, two with co-authors. Dennis MacShane (then at the ILO, now a Labour Cabinet Minister) thought ‘ Warwick is today what the LSE was in the thirties: the main English-speaking centre of applied labour movement academic activity, attracting a host of overseas students to sharpen their dialectical skills ... Robin Cohen’s wonderfully stimulating collection of essays is a fine example of the Warwick tradition’ (The Tribune 9 April 1992).

3 The new helots: migrants in the international division of labour Aldershot: Avebury/Gower Publishing Group, 1987 pp. 290; paperback edition Gower, 1988; Japanese translation, 1989; reprinted 1993, 2003

Nigel Harris (New Society, 5 Feb. 1988) called it ‘a dramatic and exciting work, linking together an extraordinarily wide range of themes’ while Jeff Crisp (in the Journal of Refugee Studies 1 (1) 1988) found it ‘... a wonderfully stimulating and synoptic new book ... Cohen’s analysis raises with a rare degree of clarity the conceptual problem of distinguishing “voluntary” and “involuntary” population movements. ... a formidable piece of comparative sociology and history.'

2 Endgame in South Africa; the changing ideology and social structure of South Africa Paris: UNESCO Press and London: James Currey 1986 pp. 108; German ed. under the title Endspiel Südafrika: Eine Anatomie der Apartheid Translated by Ulf Dammann with a Foreword by Jean Ziegler, Berlin: Rotbach Verlag, 1987 pp. 142; US ed. New York: Africa World Press, 1988

A short book evaluating contemporary social and political change in South Africa and assessing the limits and possibilities of ideological adaptation. Professor Jack Spence (Leicester) considered that: ‘Cohen draws fruitfully on the work by human geographers on the relationship between spatial patterns and social relations. His sophisticated analysis of the role of ideology is offered with wit and insight’ (Times Literary Supplement, 15 Aug. 1986).

1 Labour and politics in Nigeria: 1945–7 1 London: Heinemann Education Books, 1974; New York: Holmes & Meier/Africana Publishing Corporation, 1974. New Heinemann ed. with updated introduction and bibliography under the title Labour and politics in Nigeria, 1982 pp. 302.

A book based on doctoral research covering the history of trade unionism in Nigeria; the relations between leaders and rank-and-file members; the wage bargain; the unions as political actors; unions under military rule and a comparison with other African countries. Dr Richard Jeffries (SOAS, London) described it as a book of ‘high intellectual and literary quality which can be recommended as essential reading not only for Nigerian labour specialists but for general student of Nigerian society and politics’ (African Affairs, Oct. 1974).


19 The creolization reader (edited with Paola Toninato) London and New York: Routledge, 2009, pp 412


18 Conceiving cosmopolitanism: theory, context and practice (edited with Steve Vertovec) Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press 2002, pp. 314

The authors and editors consider the multi-layered ways in which cosmopolitanism has entered our world. They review the major theoretical interventions of recent years as well as discussing the contexts and practices of cosmopolitanism. The book comprises an ambitious introduction and sixteen chapters by leading scholars. Duncan S. A. Bell in International Affairs 79 (4), July 2003, p. 880 calls this ‘[An]’ insightful collection of essays’. He continues ‘Moreover, the editors provide an excellent summary of the multiple ‘cosmopolitanisms’ that the book seeks to uncover, articulate, prescribe and critique'. authors critique’.

17    Global social movements (edited with Shirin Rai) London: Athlone and New Jersey: Transaction Publishers, 2000, pp. 231 

Proceedings of a conference supported by the ESRC’s Centre for Globalisation and Regionalisation, University of Warwick, 1998, plus three commissioned chapters. Michael Peter Smith, University of California, praised this a ‘a masterful collection, successfully challenging the key dualities that have confined the sociological and political study of social movements’.

16 Migration, diasporas and transnationalism Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, (ed. with Steve Vertovec) 1999, pp. 663

A reader in the International Library of Studies on Migration. Comprises an ambitious original introduction, plus 34 articles.

15 Politics and migration Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 1998 (ed. with Zig Layton-Henry) pp. 341

A reader in the International Library of Studies on Migration. Comprises a modest original introduction, plus 16 articles documenting and analysing the political impact and consequences of migration.

14 Theories of migration Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 1996. pp. 512

A reader in the International Library of Studies on Migration. Comprises an original introduction, plus 25 articles from most social science disciplines demonstrating the failure to construct a satisfactory general theory.

13 The sociology of migration Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 1996. pp. 544

A reader in the International Library of Studies on Migration. Comprises an original introduction, plus 15 articles covering such themes as the peculiarity of migrant labour, women migrants, labour markets, refugees and displaced persons, the brain drain and the effects of migration on the international state-system.

12 Cambridge survey of world migration Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp. 592

This 400,000-word large-format volume contains entries from some 99 leading scholars of international migration in twenty-seven countries. The Survey is organised by chronological (beginning in the 1800s), thematic and geographical criteria. My own contributions involve a general introduction, plus 15 sectional introductions. Myron Weiner (MIT), in Population and Development Review 23 (1) 1997 called the book ‘a magisterial volume, a must acquisition for every major library and every scholar of migration’.

11 Democracy and socialism in Africa Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991 (co-edited with Harry Goulbourne) pp. 272

Twelve original contributions, most given first at a conference organised by the Review of African Political Economy at the University of Warwick. According to Samir Amin, the prominent Egyptian economist, ‘This collection of excellent essays will help in understanding the necessary link between political democracy and the achievement of socially progressive reforms. All people who support the struggle for a real democracy in Africa should read this book’.

10 Repression and resistance: insider accounts of apartheid London: Hans Zell Publishers, 1990 (co-edited with Abebe Zegeye and Yvonne Muthien) pp. 306

Ten original contributions written by black South African medics, social scientists and historians. In its broadcast on 10 Dec. 1991, the innovative US television programme, ‘Bookwatch’, syndicated via the National Federation of Local Cable Programmers, said that ‘the blend of statistical information, background history and social analysis makes for a critical, revealing survey of how apartheid works – and what happens when it fails ... Recommended for any college-level reader on South African affairs’.

9 Reluctant hosts: Europe and its refugees Aldershot: Avebury/Gower Publishing Group, 1990 (co-editor with Danièle Joly and contributor) pp. 237 Reprinted 1993

‘... the result of one of the series of excellent conferences organised by the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations at Warwick. Its appearance is timely ... a valuable source of material on a relatively neglected topic’. Dr Z. Layton-Henry in Ethnic & Racial Studies, 1991.

8 Popular struggles in South Africa London: James Currey in association with the Review of African Political Economy, 1988; Trenton, New Jersey: Africa World Press, 1988 (co-editor and contributor with William Cobbett) pp. 234

Thirteen chapters, introduced by the editors, including ten original essays written mainly by South Africans directly involved in labour, community and education struggles. David Mason, in a review in the Journal of Modern African Studies, 26 (4) writes that ‘This is a book which should be read by everyone outside South Africa who is opposed to the horror and obscenity of apartheid. It documents in an accessible and riveting way, some of the tenacity, diversity and continuity of popular resistance to the state and its surrogates’.

7 International labour and the third world: the making of a new working class Aldershot: Avebury/Gower Publishing Group, 1987 (co-editor with Peter Gutkind and Rosalind Boyd and contributor) pp. 283

Conference material plus some original chapters, including an extensive theoretical introduction by RC. PM Glavanis suggested that (together with The new helots) ‘ the two books present a formidable critique of conventional industrial relations type studies and rhetorical appeals to workers internationalism by some marxisants, social scientists and activists in the West’ (Work, Employment and Society, 2(2) 1988).

6 Crisis in the Caribbean London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1983; New York: Monthly Review Press, 1983; Revised ed. reprinted 1984 (co-editor and contributor with Fitzroy Ambursley) pp. 276

Eleven original and largely topical chapters, balancing French-, English- and Spanish-speaking territories and probing the relationship with the US or the former metropolitan power. Robert O’Connor (International Education Review, Fall 1984) considered that: ‘Readers not accustomed to work in the Marxist tradition might expect the book to be fawning toward Cuba and the Soviet Union, polemical rather than argued in a scholarly manner, devoted to crude dependency theory and jargonistic in style. Such readers would be wrong in all four expectations...a significant work of scholarship’.

5 African islands and enclaves Beverly Hills and London: Sage Publications, 1983 (editor and contributor)  pp 279                                                                

An editorial introduction plus eleven original essays (one by RC). Territories covered are the Canary Islands, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Cabinda, St Helena, Cape Verde, Diego Garcia, the Seychelles, the Comoros and Mauritius. John L Collier (Foreign Service Institute, Arlington, Virginia) wrote: ‘This book is highly recommended because most of the case studies exhibit well-organised, carefully edited state-of-the-art scholarship (including excellent bibliographies) on a number of Africa’s least researched units’ (Canadian Journal of African Studies, 19(2) 1985).

4 Peasants and proletarians: the struggles of third world workers London: Hutchinson Books, 1979; New York: Monthly Review Press, 1979 (co-editor and contributor with Peter Gutkind and Phyllis Brazier) pp. 505

A comprehensive reader on studies of labour in the third world. Twenty-one readings together with an editorial introduction, sectional introductions and a 23-page bibliography, organised by region. Paul Kennedy (Manchester) wrote: ‘This book offers a truly impressive and solid compilation of material on labour in the third world. The sheer range of sometimes bewildering, but never fails to stimulate and absorb the reader’ (Journal of Modern African Studies, 19(4) 1981).

3 Forced labour in colonial Africa (an edition and collection of Albert Nzula’s writings) London: Zed Press, 1979. (edited and introduced) pp. 221

Includes a translation of the first book on Africa to be published in the Soviet Union (in 1932), one of the authors, Nzula, being the first black general secretary of the South African Communist Party. His co-authored book, together with all his writings in the Negro Worker, are assembled here. Numerous footnotes and an introduction are added by RC. Njoroge Dseugu (West Africa, 9 June 1980) describes it as ‘a remarkable book ... the editor, translator and publisher should be congratulated for their painstaking work on updating and making the book more relevant to the modern reader’.

2 African labor history Beverly Hills and London: Sage Publications, 1978 (co-editor with Peter Gutkind and Jean Copans and contributor) pp. 280

Nine original essays, including one co-authored by RC, together with a lengthy editorial introduction. The book was distinctive in translating the work of French labour specialists and included items on Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Kenya, Tanganyika, Madagascar and Botswana. Professor Mike Mason (Concordia, Montreal) saw it as, ‘a useful overview mapping progress made in both the Anglophone and Francophone traditions in labour studies’ (Labour/Le Travailleur, Spring 1981).

1 The development of an African working class: studies in class formation and action London: Longman, 1975: Toronto: Toronto University Press, 1976 (co-editor and contributor with Richard Sandbrook) pp. 330

Derived from a conference representative of the leading scholars on Africa labour. Thirteen chapters grouped into three parts – initial stirrings of working class consciousness, contemporary workers’ organisations and contemporary action. Sandbrook and RC add extensive editorial matter in the form of an introduction, conclusion and sectional introductions. Professor Peter Lloyd (Sussex) wrote that: ‘It deserves to be read not only by Africanists but all those interested in labour movements elsewhere in the world; for the questions posed are equally relevant and may budge scholars from established and sterile paths’ (Times Higher Educational Supplement, 1 April 1977).


    Migration and health in Southern Africa Proceedings of a conference held at the University of Cape Town, 26–9 January 2003. Contributions by 21 authors, perfect bound in A4 size by Van Schaik Content Solutions, Stellenbosch, South Africa, pp. 236.

    A selection of the 10 of the above published as a special issue (Guest editor, Robin Cohen) titled Migration and Health in Southern Africa, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32 (4), May 2006, pp. 181.



    54 ‘The free movement of people: ethical debates before and after “9/11” in Christine Chinkin, David Downes, Conor Gearty and Paul Rock (eds) Sociology and politics of denial: crime, social control and human rights Essays in honour of Stanley Cohen, Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing, 2007 pp. 221-25

    53 ‘La liberté de circulation de devises et de personnes: les débats avant et après le 11 Septembre 2001’ Migrations Société, 27, 102, Nov-Dec 2005, 4569

    52 ‘Cosmopolitanism and everyday life' [in Portuguese]   in António Barreto (eds) Globalizaçõao e migraçõoes Lisboa: Instituto Ciencias Sociais, 2005. 289 pp. ISBN: 9726711509

    51 ‘Reti di migranti transnazionali’ in Maddalena Tirabassi (ed.) Itinera: paradigmi delle migrazioni italiane Turin: Edizioni della Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli, 2005, 2142

    50 ‘Chinese cockle-pickers, the transnational turn and everyday cosmopolitanism: reflections on the new global migrants’ Labour, Capital and Society, 37 (2), 2004, 13049

    49 ‘Introduction: conceiving cosmopolitanism’ in Steven Vertovec and Robin Cohen (eds.) Conceiving cosmopolitanism: theory, context and practice Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 1–22 (with Steven Vertovec)

    48 ‘Four cosmopolitan moments’ in Steven Vertovec and Robin Cohen (eds.) Conceiving cosmopolitanism: theory, context and practice Oxford: Oxford University Press 2002, pp. 137–62 (with Robert Fine)

    47 ‘Labour in an age of global insecurity’ in Barbara Harris-White (ed.) Globalization and insecurity: political, economic and physical challenges, Basingstoke: Palgrave 2001, 203–17

    46 ‘Global social movements: towards a cosmopolitan politics’ in Robin Cohen and Shirin M. Rai (eds.) Global social movements, London: Athlone and New Jersey: Transaction Books, 2000, 1–17 (with Shirin Rai)

    OTHER PUBLICATIONS (since 2000)
    (includes short articles, review articles, translations, selected reprints and electronic pages)

    98 ‘Diaspora and migration’ in John Scott (ed.) Sociology: the key concepts London: Routledge, 2006, pp. 103-4

    97 ‘Creolization’ in George Ritzer, (ed) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007

    96 ‘Diasporas: changing meanings and limits of the concept’ in William Berthomière and Christine Chivallon (eds) Les diasporas dans le monde contemporain Paris: Karthala and Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Bordeaux, Pessac), 39–48.

    95 ‘Introduction: from fear to solidarity’ in Robin Cohen (Guest Editor) Migration and health in southern Africa special issue of Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32 (4), May 2006, pp 5617

    94 ‘Preface’ to Chan Kwok Bun Migration, ethnic relations and Chinese business London Routledge, 2005, xixii

    93 ‘Diaspora, the nation-state and globalization’ in Bruce Mazlish and Akira Iriye (eds.) The global history reader New York: Routledge, 2005, 92103 [reprinted]

    92 ‘Migration’ in Adam Kuper and Jessica Kuper (eds,) The Social Science Encyclopaedia London: Routledge 2004, pp ??

    91 ‘Il mondo delle diaspore ci fa paura’ Reset (Rome) 84, JulyAugust 2004, 758

    90 ‘Quella ebraica, madre di tutti le diaspore’ Reset (Rome) 82, March–April 2004, 44–8

    89 New ‘Introduction’ to the 2 Vol. Japanese edition of Global sociology Tokyo, 2003 (with Paul Kennedy)

    88 ‘“Diaspora”: beyond the Jewish experience’ The 15th Jacob Gitlin Memorial Lecture. Public lecture at the Jacob Gitlin Memorial Library, Cape Town, South Africa, 18 September, 2003 Pamphlet published by the Gitlin Library, ISBN 0-620-31368-4, pp. 1–11

    87 ‘Introduction: from fear to solidarity’ in Migration and health in Southern Africa Proceedings of a conference held at the University of Cape Town, 26–9 January 2003. Van Schaik Content Solutions, Stellenbosch, South Africa. 2003, 1–7 . Available from

    86 ‘Preface’ to the Greek edition of Global diasporas: an introduction Athens, 2003, 21–4

    85 ‘Crossing the line. Migration: the end of borders’, Index on Censorship, 32 (2), May 2003, 60–9

    84 ‘Diaspora’ in Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (editors-in-chief) International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Oxford: Pergamon, 2001, pp. 3642–5

    83 ‘Editorial statement’ to the opening issue of Global Networks 1 (1) 2001, iii–vi (with Alistair Rogers and Steve Vertovec)

    82 ‘The diaspora of a diaspora: the Caribbean case’ in Harry Goulbourne (ed.) Race and ethnicity: critical concepts in sociology Vol. 2 Solidarities and communities, London: Routledge, 2001 [reprinted from Social Science Information, 31 (1) 1992, 193–203]

    81 ‘Fuzzy frontiers of identity: the British case’ in Harry Goulbourne (ed.) Race and ethnicity: critical concepts in sociology Vol. 2 Solidarities and communities, London: Routledge, 2001 [reprinted from Social Identities 1 (1), Jan. 1995, 35–62]

    80 ‘European and East-West migration in a global context’ in Malcolm Cross (ed.) The sociology of race and ethnicity Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2001 [reprinted from New Community 17 (4), Oct. 1991, 9–26]

    79 ‘The incredible vagueness of being British/English’ International Affairs, 76 (3), 2000, 575–8 2 (Review article)

    Articles, chapters or other publications submitted or forthcoming

    Diaspora”: changing meanings and limits of the concept’ in John LaGuerre (ed) Calcutta to Caroni and the Indian Diaspora Trinidad: Publisher?, 2008.

    ‘Creolization and diaspora the cultural politics of divergence and some convergence’ in Gloria Totoricagüena (ed) Opportunity Structures in Diaspora Relations: Comparisons in Contemporary Multi-level Politics of Diaspora and Transnational Identity, Reno, Nevada, Center for Basque Studies, University of Nevada Press, 2007

    Preface to Isabel Estrada Carvalais Postnational citizenship and the state: the political integration of non-national residents in Portugal, Lisbon, 2007, pp….

    Preface to Laurent Medea Creolization and Social Identity in a neo-colonial setting: the case of Réunion, Pretoria, Unisa Press and Bordeaux: U. of Bordeaux, 2007, pp.