Professor Nando Sigona

Professor Nando Sigona

Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology
Chair of International Migration and Forced Displacement
Director of IRiS

Contact details

School of Social Policy
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Birmingham, UK
B15 2TT

Nando Sigona is a social scientist with over fifteen years research and teaching experience in migration, refugee, citizenship and ethnic studies. He is the Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) and a Research Associate at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Centre.

Professor Sigona’s work investigates the migration and citizenship nexus. This is achieved through in-depth examination of a range of experiences of societal membership including, but not limited to, those of: EU families; refugees; Roma, undocumented migrants, racialized minorities, unaccompanied minors, dual citizens, ‘failed’ asylum seekers, and stateless people.

Nando is one of the founding editors of Migration Studies, an international academic journal published by Oxford University Press and the editor of the book series Global Migration and Social Change by Bristol University Press.

His recent work includes Unravelling Europe’s ‘migration crisis’  (Policy Press 2017), Within and beyond citizenship (Routledge 2017), The Oxford Handbook on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies

(Oxford University Press, 2014) Sans Papiers: The Social and Economic Lives of Undocumented Migrants (Pluto Press, 2014). 

Since 2008 he maintains an academic blog - Postcards from... .

His work has been featured in a number of international media, incl. The Economist; BBC News; Al Jazeera; New York Times; AP; Reuters; Die Welt; RAI. He contributes regularly for magazines, newspapers and blogs (see recent media coverage), and is active on social media.

Follow Nando on Twitter @nandosigona


  • PhD in Sociology of migration and forced displacement, Oxford Brookes University
  • BSc in Politics (Hons), University of Naples L’Orientale, Italy


Before joining the School of Social Policy as a Birmingham Fellow in February 2013, Nando was Senior Research Officer at the Refugee Studies Centre and Senior Researcher the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford.

Nando has a background in Politics, Sociology and Social Anthropology. He has taught on the MSc in Migration Studies and the MSc in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies at the University of Oxford and in October 2012 was awarded the University of Oxford’s Teaching Excellence Award for ‘outstanding contribution to the MSc in Migration Studies’. Previously, he taught sociology of diversity, migration and forced migration to undergraduate and postgraduate students at Oxford Brookes University and City University London.

His research sets to explore the impact of globalisation, migration and human rights regime on meanings and practices of citizenship and non-citizenship in countries affected by significant population movements. His research interests include: forced displacement; statelessness, diasporas and the state; Romani politics and anti-Gypsyism; ‘illegality’ and the everyday experiences of undocumented migrant children and young people; and governance and governmentality of forced migration in the EU.

His work has appeared in a range of peer reviewed journals, including Sociology, Social Anthropology, Citizenship Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Ethnic and Racial Studies. He is author or editor of books and journal’s special issues including Within and beyond citizenship: Borders, membership and belonging (with Roberto G. Gonzales, 2017), Unravelling Europe’s ‘migration crisis’ (with Heaven Crawley, Franck Duvell, Katharine Jones, and Simon McMahon, 2017), Ethnography, diversity and urban space (with Mette Berg and Ben Gidley, Identities, 2013), The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (with Elena Fiddian Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long, 2014), Romani politics in contemporary Europe: poverty, ethnic mobilisation and the neoliberal order (with Nidhi Trehan, Palgrave, 2009). 

Nando is also one of the founding editors of Migration Studies.

Nando speaks about his work on Mediterranean boat migration with IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre. Find out more about research into Migration and Displacement at the University of Birmingham.

Nando discusses his research into the experiences of EU families after the Brexit referendum in Breaking Brexit podcast series (2017)


Nando is the Director of the MA in Migration, Superdiversity and Policy where he teaches on module: Globalisation, international migration and citizenship. He also contributes lectures and seminars to undergraduate and postgraduate modules in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work.

Postgraduate supervision

Nando welcomes proposals for doctoral and post-doctoral research in the following areas: 

  • Forced displacement and globalisation
  • Sociology of statelessness
  • Dual citizenship and the experiences of dual citizens
  • The intersection between migration, rights and citizenship 
  • Everyday experiences of superdiversity
  • Neoliberalism, globalisation and governance of human mobility
  • The politics of refugee voices and silences
  • Romani politics and anti-Gypsyism 
  • Undocumented migrants and experiences of ‘illegality’ through generations
  • Child and family migration 
  • Transnationalism and diasporas
  • Policy and practice of migrant integration and ideas of membership in the EU
  • Freedom of movement and intra-EU mobility

Current PhD students and projects include:

Anna Papoutsi, Refugee crisis and rebordering of Europe, January 2016-ongoing

Ozlem Young, Unaccompanied minors in the West Midlands, September 2017- ongoing

Koreana Ko, Homemaking practices among Korean elderly in Greater London, January 2016 – ongoing

Anja Benedikt, Integration and national identity in Germany, expected completion Dec 2018

Ayse Aydin, Asylum governance and refugee women in Turkey, January 2017 – ongoing (distance learning)

Aleksandra Koluvija, Refugee integration in Germany, January 2017 – ongoing (distance learning)

Bobby Beaumont, Children and circus in refugee camps, September 2017 - ongoing


IRiS: Asylum seekers, Roma, refugees and minority groups

  • ESRC-funded EU families and ‘eurochildren’ in Brexiting Britain (April 2017-October 2018)
  • Unravelling the Mediterranean Crisis (MEDMIG)
  • Becoming adult: Conceptions of futures and wellbeing among young people subject to immigration control in the UK
  • Causes and experiences of poverty among refugees and asylum seekers in the UK: Review of Evidence
  • Precarious status, migration governance and new geographies of mobility
  • Legal status, rights and belonging: International symposia
  • In protracted limbo: A comparative study of the transitions to adulthood and life trajectories of former unaccompanied children in Europe. In collaboration with the Oxford Institute of Social Policy, University of Oxford.
  • Stateless diasporas and immigration and citizenship regimes in Europe. Lead researcher, part of the Leverhulme-funded Oxford Diasporas Programme, University of Oxford.
  • Undocumented migrant children and families in the UK. Completed in 2012 and funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust.

Other activities

  • Editor-in-chief, Global migration and social change Book Series, Policy Press
  • Associate Editor, Migration Studies, Oxford University Press 
  • Editorial board member, ‘Anthropology’ series, SEID Editore, Italy
  • Editorial board member, ‘Migration’ series, CISU, Italy
  • Member, British Sociological Association
  • Research Associate, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford 
  • Member of the European Academic Network in Romani Studies, European Commission and Council of Europe
  • The Independent Advisory Board Group on Country Information (IAGCI), member



Crawley, H., Duvell, F., Jones, K., McMahon, S, Sigona, N. (2017) Unravelling Europe’s ‘migration crisis’, Bristol: Policy Press

Gonzales, R. G. and Sigona, N. (eds) (2017) Within and beyond citizenship: Borders, membership and belonging. (BSA Sociological Futures Series) London and New York: Routledge

Sigona, N, Gamlen, A, Liberatore, G, Neveu Kringelbach, H (2015) (eds) Diasporas Reimagined: Spaces, practices and belonging, Oxford: International Migration Institute.

Bloch, A., Sigona, N., Zetter, R. (2014) Sans Papiers: The Social and Economic Lives of Undocumented Migrants, Pluto Press.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E., Loescher, G., Long, K. and Sigona, N. (2014) Oxford Handbook on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, Oxford: OUP.

Sigona, N. and Trehan, N. (eds) (2009) Romani Politics in Europe: Poverty, Ethnic Marginalisation and the Neoliberal Order, Palgrave.

Sigona, N. and Monasta, L. (2006) Cittadinanze Imperfette. Rapporto sulla discriminazione razziale di rom e sinti in Italia. Santa Maria Capua Vetere: Edizioni Spartaco

Griffiths, D., Sigona, N. and Zetter, R. (2005) Refugee Community Organisations and Dispersal: Networks, Resources and Social Capital, Bristol, Policy Press.

Sigona, N (2002) Figli del ghetto. Gli italiani, i campi nomadi e l’invenzione degli zingari, Civezzano (TN): Nonluoghi

Journal editorship

Phillimore, J, Sigona, N, Tonkiss, K (2017) (eds) Policy & Politics on ‘Superdiversity, Policy and Governance in Europe’, 45 (4).

Gonzales, R. G., Sigona, N. and Burciaga, E. M. (eds) (2016) American Behavioral Scientist, issue on ‘Citizenship, rights and deservingness’, 60 (13).

Berg, M. L., Gidley, B. and Sigona, N. (eds) (2013) Identities. Global studies in culture and power, special issue on ‘Ethnography, diversity and the urban space’, 20 (4).

Sigona, N. and Vermeersch, P. (eds) (2012) Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, special issue on ‘The Roma in the new EU: polices, frames and everyday experiences’, 38 (8).

Clough Marinaro, I. and Sigona, N. (eds) (2011) Journal of Modern Italian Studies, special issue on ‘Anti-Gypsyism and the politics of exclusion: Roma and Sinti in contemporary Italy’, 16 (5).

Sigona, N. (2006) Studi Emigrazione, special issue on ‘Rifugio Europa? Europe Land of Asylum?’, XLIII, 162

Journal articles

Humphris, R, Sigona, N (2017) ‘Outsourcing the ‘best interests’ of unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the era of austerity’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

McMahon, S, Sigona, N (2018) ‘Navigating the Central Mediterranean: disentangling migration governance and migrant journeys‘, Sociology.

Sigona, N (2016) ‘Everyday statelessness: status, rights and camps’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39 (2): 263-279.

Sigona, N (2014), 'Campzenship: Reimagining the camp as a social and political space', Citizenship Studies, doi: 10.1080/13621025.2014.937643.

Berg, M. L., and Sigona, N. (2013) ‘Ethnography, diversity and urban space‘, Identities, 20 (4).

Sigona, N. (2012) ‘In between competing imagineries of statehood: Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians leadership in newly independent Kosovo‘, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38 (8).

Sigona, N. (2012) ‘Globalisation, rights and the non-citizen‘, Sociology, 46 (5): 982-988

Sigona, N. (2012) ”I’ve too much baggage’: the impact of legal status on the social worlds of irregular migrants’, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale, 20 (1): 50-65

Sigona, N. (2011) ‘The governance of Romani people in Italy: discourse, policy and practice’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 16 (5): 590-616.

Sigona, N. (2011) ‘L’Union européenne et les Roms: pauvreté, haine anti-Tziganes et gouvernance de la mobilité’, Cultures et Conflits, 81-82: 213-222.

Bloch, A., Sigona, N. and Zetter, R. (2011) ‘Migration routes and strategies of young undocumented migrants in England: a qualitative perspective’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, First published: 22 March 2011

Sigona, N. and Trehan, N. (2011) ‘Néolibéralisme et antitsiganisme: le suspens du rêve européen’, Lignes, n.34.

Bravi, L. and Sigona, N. (2007) ‘Educazione e rieducazione nei campi per ‘nomadi’ in Italia: una storia’, Studi Emigrazione/Migration Studies, XLIII (164): pp. 857-874

Sigona, N. (2006) ‘L’integrazione e i rifugiati: retoriche, politiche e prassi nell’Unione Europea’, Studi Emigrazione/Migration Studies, XLIII, 162, 309-321

Sigona, N. (2005) ‘Refugee Integration(s): Policy and Practice in the European Union’, Refugee Survey Quarterly, 24: 115-122

Sigona, N. (2005) ‘Identitade, estereótipos e políticas. O caso dos Rom na Italia’,Travessia: Revista Do Migrante, 18(51): 34-38

Sigona, N. (2005) ‘Locating the ‘Gypsy problem’Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 31(4): 741-756

Sigona, N (2003) ‘How can a ‘nomad’ be a refugee? Kosovo Roma and labelling policy in Italy’Sociology, 37 (1): 69-80

Sigona, N (2001) “Nomadi”, Meridione, 1 (1), 130-159

Zetter, R.,  Griffiths, D. and Sigona, N. (2005) ‘Social Capital or Social Exclusion? The Impact of Asylum Seeker Dispersal on Refugee Community Organisations’, Community Development Journal, 40 (2): 169-181

Chapters in Books

Sigona, N (2014) 'The politics of refugee voices: Memories, narratives and representations of forced migration', in The Oxford Handbook on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, OUP.

Sigona, N. and Trehan, N. (2011) ‘The (re)criminalization of Roma communities in a neoliberal Europe’, Palidda, S. (ed) Racial criminalization of migrants in the 21st century, Ashgate

Sigona, N. (2010) ‘‘Via gli zingari dall’Italia [Gypsies out of Italy)!’: social exclusion and racial discrimination of Roma and Sinti in Italy’ in Mammone, A. and Veltri, G. (eds) Italy today: the sick man of Europe, Routledge.

Sigona, N. (2009) ‘I rom nell’Europa neoliberale’ in Palidda, S. (ed) Razzismo democratico, Agenzia X, pp.54-65 (Translated in French and Spanish).

Bravi, L. and Sigona, N. (2009) ‘Rom e Sinti in Italia: permanenze e migrazioni’,Storia d’Italia – Annali 24: Migrazioni, Einaudi, pp. 183-198.

Sigona, N. (2007) ‘Lo scandalo dell’alterità: Rom e Sinti in Italia’ in Bragato and Menetto (eds) E per patria una lingua segreta, Venezia: nuovadimensione: 17-32

Zetter, R., Sigona, N., Griffiths, D. (2006) Immigration, social cohesion and social capital. What are the links? York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Sigona, N. (2005) ‘Italia: un ‘quasi sistema’ di accoglienza’ in D’Angelo A., Ricci, A. (eds.) Diritti Rifugiati in Europa. Politiche e prassi di integrazione dei rifugiati, Roma: RelazionInternazionali: 141-154

Sigona, N. (2005) ‘I confini del “problema zingari”: rom e sinti nei campi nomadi d’Italia’ in Colombo, A. and Caponio, T., Migrazioni globali, integrazioni locali, Bologna: il mulino: 267-293

Sigona, N. (2004) ‘Identità contese: i romá kossovari tra Kossovo e Italia’ in C. Saletti Salza and L. Piasere (eds) Italia Romaní IV. La diaspora dei rom dell’ex-Jugoslavia, Roma: CISU: 17-35

Research monographs and other research-based outputs

Sigona, N (2018) ‘The politics of naming in Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’’, Ethnic and Racial Studies. 41 (3): 456-60.

Chase, E. and Sigona, N. (2017) ‘Forced returns and protracted displacement’, Becoming Adult Research Brief no. 7, London: UCL

Sigona, N., Chase, E., Humphris, R. (2017) ‘Understanding causes and consequences of going ‘missing’, Becoming Adult Brief no. 6, London: UCL

Sigona, N., Chase, E., Humphris, R. (2017) ‘Protecting the ‘best interests’ of the child in transition to adulthood’, Becoming Adult Research Brief no. 3, London: UCL

Crawley, H., Duvell, F., Jones, K., McMahon, S. and  Sigona, N.(2016) ‘Destination Europe? Understanding the dynamics and drivers of Mediterranean migration in 2015‘, MEDMIG Final Report, University of Coventry.

Humphris, R, and Sigona, N (2016) ‘Children and unsafe migration in Europe: Data and Policy – understanding the evidence base‘, IOM GMDAC Data Briefing, 5.

McMahon, S. and Sigona, N. (2016)’Boat migration across the Central Mediterranean‘, MEDMIG Research Brief, no.3

Crawley, H., Duvell, F., Sigona, N., McMahon, S. and Jones, K. (2016) ‘Unpacking a rapidly changing scenario: migration flows, routes and trajectories across the Mediterranean’, MEDMIG Research Brief, no.1.

Humphris, R, Sigona, N (2016) ‘Mapping unaccompanied asylum seeking children in England’, Becoming Adult Research Brief, no. 1, London: UCL.

Allsopp, J, Sigona, N and Phillimore, J (2014) 'Poverty among refugees and asylum seekers in the UK', IRiS WP Series, 01/14.

Barrett, J and Sigona, N (2014) 'The citizen and the other: New directions in research on the migration and citizenship nexus', Migration Studies, 2(2): 286-294.

Sigona, N. (2012) ‘Deportation, non-deportability and precarious lives’, Anthropology Today, 28 (5): 22-23

Sigona, N. and Hughes, V. (2012) No way out, no way in: Irregular migrant children and families in the UK, Oxford: COMPAS.

Sigona, N. (2011) ‘Irregular migrant children and public policy’, Policy Primer Series, Oxford, The Migration Observatory

Sigona, N. and Hughes, V. (2010) ‘Being children and undocumented: a background paper’, COMPAS WP n.78.

Bloch, A., Sigona, N. and Zetter, R. (2009) ‘No right to dream’: the social and economic lives of young undocumented migrants in Britain, London: Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Sigona, N. (2008) ‘Il nemico pubblico n.1?’ Reset, n.107, May-June 2008

Sigona, N. (ed) (2008) The latest public enemy: the case of the Romanian Roma in Italy, OSCE/ODHIR

Sigona, N. and Torre, A. R. (2006) Positive contributions: Being a refugee in Britain, London:  Refugee Housing Association

Sigona, N. (2006) (ed) Political participation and media representation of Roma and Sinti in Italy. Report commissioned by OSCE/ODIHR

Zetter, R., Griffiths, D. and Sigona, N. (2002) Survey of Policy and Practice on Refugee Integration, European Refugee Fund.

View all publications in research portal


Forced displacement, Roma, immigration, illegal migration, child and family migration, asylum in the EU, statelessness, integration and multiculturalism.

Media experience

Extensive radio, press and broadcast experience - see here for recent media coverage.

Contact via email or twitter (@nandosigona). Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office.

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office


Communities and Cohesion

Irregular migration, child and youth migration, forced displacement, asylum, EU migration, refugee crisis, Roma

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office