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Doctoral Researcher, Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, University of Nottingham

Caryl Thompson is a Doctoral Researcher in the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies in the School of Politics & International Relations at the University of Nottingham. She is currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she is undertaking research at the University’s Malaysia campus on migration in the Asia Pacific region.

Migration and Security: The construction of threats in South East Asia

Migration across national borders has grown and diversified over the past forty years and is increasingly regarded by national governments as a security issue. My research will examine the ways in which migration is articulated as a threat to security, particularly to economic, political and societal security in developing countries.

It will assess how developing states that are dependent on migrant labor to support economic growth, balance the tensions between their economic interests and potential societal threats created by large and diverse inflows of migrants. It will provide a comparative, cross-national analysis by examining two countries with similar recent migration patterns (Malaysia and Singapore) using discourse analysis methods to analyse a corpus of texts derived from the policy statements, political speeches and manifestoes and local press media relating to how migration is communicated as a security threat in public discourse.

The research will contribute to contemporary debates by examining how states differ in “securitizing” the issue of migration, depending on social context, and by assessing the merits of the analytical framework of “securitization” developed by the Copenhagen School, in designating migration as a threat to security.


  • –present
    Doctoral Researcher, Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, University of Nottingham