Refugia: solving the problem of mass displacement

Hosted by the International Inequalities Institute

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building


Professor Robin Cohen

Professor Robin Cohen


Dr Isabel Shutes

Using fresh interpretations of utopian and archipelagic thinking, Robin Cohen will examine the limits and possibilities of creating an imaginative answer to mass displacement.

The mass displacement of people through war, ethnic conflict, climate change and lack of opportunity is one of the pressing global issues of our time. The three traditional responses to this issue – local integration, resettlement and return – have proved to be inadequate, while politicians find it difficult to confront xenophobic and nationalist reactions to large-scale and culturally-diverse migration.

Radical proposals to address the problem of mass displacement are now being given serious attention by academics and policy-makers alike. Drawing on joint work with Nicholas Van Hear, in this lecture Robin Cohen will subject these proposals to brief scrutiny, but also offer a major alternative vision, a new kind of transnational polity they have called ‘Refugia’.

Robin Cohen is Professor Emeritus of Development Studies and Senior Research Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

Isabel Shutes is Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Policy, LSE.

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) at LSE brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to lead critical and cutting edge research to understand why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges. 

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSERefugia

This event forms part of the “New World (Dis)Orders” series, held in the run up to the LSE Festival, a week-long series of events taking place from 25 February to 2 March 2019, free to attend and open to all, exploring how social science can tackle global issues. How did we get here? What are the challenges? And, importantly, how can we address them? The full LSE Festival programme is online.


A podcast of this event is available to download from Refugia: solving the problem of mass displacement.

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email
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