SECUREU - The Securitisation of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities and the Rise of Xenophobia in the EU

Grayscale photo of a globe showing Eastern Europe

The challenges posed by far-right populism and the rise of anti-foreign sentiment demand systematic research on the causes and consequences of xenophobia in all its variants. SECUREU focuses on the role of the securitisation of ethnicity (i.e., the representation of migrants and ethnic minorities as an inherent security threat that demands exceptional measures), as pursued by both the EU and its individual member states. The network’s activities aim at highlighting the potential social and political problems generated by the securitisation process, with a view to disseminating the newly-generated knowledge to the academic and policy-making communities.

SECUREU started in late 2020 and is a three-year Erasmus and Jean Monnet Research Network.

The project website is nested within the Europe Now website

Project partners

  • Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals (IBEI) (leading institution)
  • School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow
  • Council for European Studies (CES), Columbia University
  • University of Amsterdam
  • Koç University Istanbul
  • European Academy (EURAC) in Bolzano/Bozen
  • Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, Marburg

Within the University of Glasgow, the project is being implemented by CEES (Professor David Smith, Dr Federica Prina and Dr Eamonn Butler McIntosh) and Politics & International Relations (Professor Georgios Karyotis and Dr Ian Paterson).

Funding: 300,000 euros


SECUREU’s research explores the securitisation of migrants and its consequences for xenophobia in the context of the recent EU Refugee Crisis, which has fundamentally transformed EU migration policy but also led to contrasting reactions by individual countries. SECUREU further investigates the securitisation of migrants and ethnic minorities from a historical perspective by focusing on how the framing of different minority groups has evolved over time, as well as how ethnic minorities experience their representation in the public discourse. In developing this research agenda SECUREU promotes a theoretical integration of the ethnicity/migration and securitization fields. Although both fields have examined migration and ethnic minorities, they have developed largely independently from one another.

The work programme is built around three major work packages:

  1. Research

This work package brings together the fields of ethnicity/migration and securitisation studies through two research projects that comparatively investigate how, when, why, and with what consequences the EU and individual member states have securitized migrants and ethnic minorities.

  1. Teaching

This work package aims at introducing young researchers to both the ethnicity/migration and securitisation bodies of knowledge, state-of-the-art methods, including by involving them in hands-on applied research with SECUREU’s more senior team members.

  1. Dissemination

Network activities will be disseminated to diverse target groups (i.e., scholars, students, the policy community, and the wider public) through a variety of strategies, including online content for non-specialists.

Collaboration and research activities comprise of short research stays, scientific workshops (Glasgow and Istanbul), and symposia (Barcelona and Brussels). Teaching activities include two summer schools (on methods and applied research in Amsterdam, and policy implications in Bolzano/Bozen) and a webinar series with the aim to create digital modules for interdisciplinary academic teaching on the topic (Marburg).

Dissemination activities include an opening symposium, with input from the wider academic community, policy-makers, journalists, and civil society associations, and a closing symposium, where the network’s main accomplishments will be discussed with these different target groups, including MEPs. SECUREU’s main outputs will be journal articles, a special issue of a journal, policy memos, and a website and featured presentation of the network with CES’ EuropeNow.



The opening symposium was held in Barcelona on 25-26 November 2021. It was an hybrid event with an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on discourses and impact of securitisation of minorities and migrants. 

The 2nd SECUREU conference was held at the University of Glasgow on 6-7 October 2022. It explored one of the cross-cutting themes that emerged from the opening symposium: the theme of identity and ontological security.