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Professor of Sociology and Migration Studies, London Metropolitan University

Nick Studied Modern Italian Literature and Media Studies at Bologna University, 1990-1995, before going to the University of Sussex, where he obtained his PhD in 2001. Nick’s doctoral research was on the relationship between migration and transcultural media consumption and addressed the role played by Italian media in the Albanian migration to Italy. During his PhD fieldwork he was the director of an Italian development project aimed at the setting up and management of four youth centres in central and southern Albania, where he lived for over two years. In 2000 he was a researcher within the project 'Archives of the Memory: from an individual to a collective experience' funded by the International Organisation for Migrations and carried out in Belgrade and Pristina.

After he completed his PhD, from April 2001 to July 2003 Nick was Research Fellow in the Sussex Centre for Migration Research at the University of Sussex and worked on a Leverhulme Trust funded project on the social exclusion and stigmatisation of Albanian migrants in Italy and Greece. This project was integrated with a second research opportunity, funded by OXFAM UK, examining the specific realities of Albanians migrating to the UK, including the impact of their remittances at home and the issue of the sustainability of return.

From August 2003 to January 2005 he was Morris Ginsberg post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Sociology of the LSE working on the interplay between new forms of transcultural media consumption, the emergence of 'migratory' life trajectories and 'youth' identities, and the eliciting of migratory flows with reference to three transnational spaces: Italy-Albania, Morocco-Spain and Cuba-USA.

In 2005 Nick joined ISET and until 2007 he was part of the research team undertaking the 'Rhythms and Realities of Everyday Life' Joseph Rowntree Foundation flagship project on immigration and social integration in the UK. The project aimed at understanding the way different groups of long term residents and new arrivals negotiate everyday life across six different sites in the UK: Kilburn/Downham (London), Peterborough, Leicester, Glasgow, Dungannon (N. Ireland).

Between 2007 and 2009 Nick led the ESRC-funded project on ‘Migrants in the UK Sex Industry, addressing the nexus between migration and the sex industry, by interviewing migrant women, men and transgender people working in all sectors on the sex industry in central London and from the main areas of origins involved. The project was delivered in October 2009. For more information on this project, visit its webpage: /research-units/iset/projects/esrc-migrant-workers.cfm

Until June 2011 Nick was involved in the METOIKOS project, funded by the EU and based at the EUI in Florence, analysing the links between different types of circular migration and processes of integration (in the country of destination) and reintegration (in the source country). Within this project, he studied the Italo-Albanian migratory flow. For more information on this project, visit its webpage:

Nick is an associate researcher at IRIS, the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Social Dynamics of the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris (Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les Enjeux Sociaux de l’École des Haute Études en Sciences Sociales). This is his webpage at IRIS:

Nick is also a member of IMéRA the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Aix-Marseille University (Institute Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées). This is his webpage at IMéRA:ésent-à-liméra/433-nicola-mai.html

Nick has also been involved in a range of wider activities in the social sciences. He undertook research for international intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, including the International Organisation for Migrations and Save the Children. Nick is member of the peer review boards of the ESRC and of the ESF. He is also member of the editorial boards of Sextures ( and of the Albanian Journal of Politics (

Research Interests

Nick’s main research area is on the relationship between migration and the emergence of different forms of cosmopolitan and essentialist consciousness and identities, which he addressed through different and interrelated research strands.

These include:

- the interplay between media consumption and the imagination/enactment of migration, which was the topic of his earlier doctoral work on the role of Italian media in attracting Albanian migrants to Italy;

- the relation between migration, social exclusion and the emergence of migratory and diasporic individual and collective identities, which was the topic of his post-doctoral research at Sussex;

- the mobility of migrant minors and young people from Eastern Europe and North Africa within the EU, their strategies of survival and the associated risks and opportunities, including issues of exploitation and the engagement in illegal activities;

- youth radicalisation and the role of secular and religious ideologies in legitimising politically motivated violence, which was the topic of an ESF-funded exploratory workshop he organised at ISET on 26/27 June 2008;

- initiatives of social intervention addressing migrant groups which are constructed as vulnerable by policies as well as by academic and public debates;

- the negotiation of gender, sexuality and subjectivity through the migration process, with particular reference to international (female and male) sex work as a contested and ambivalent space of control and autonomy.


  • –present
    Reader in Migration Studies, London Metropolitan University