top of page


[CLOSED] The language of migration

Who: A collaboration between Routed Magazine and Discussing Displacement:

  • Routed Magazine is an online publication on migration and (im)mobility. Bridging the divide between specialist academic literature on human mobility and popular portrayals of migration in the media, Routed Magazine hopes to bring a fresh, critical perspective to the study of how and why people move, as well as the contexts of mobility.

  • Discussing Displacement is a website and online blog series, centred on forced migration and displacement. Aspiring to amplify the voices of scholars in the field of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, and to spark the interest of readers and researchers new to this area, Discussing Displacement unpacks and explains some of the central arguments, concepts and ideas that crop up within academic writing on displacement.

What: A special issue, on the theme of ‘The language of migration’, to be published in October 2021 in Routed Magazine and Discussing Displacement. 

The words we use shape our understanding of the world. In the media, institutions, academia and day-to-day conversations, the language used when discussing migration impacts the ways in which we perceive human mobility and how we define our own positions within it and towards it. Words are complex and multi-layered, as they reflect the diverse realities, narratives and structures involved in migration. At the same time, language is also a political arena, constantly changing and adapting to different interests and claims, and an instrument to draw the lines of inclusion and exclusion.

Just as language is a tool for communication, it can also constitute a barrier. In particular, specialised terminology, such as academic or legal vocabularies, can seem obscure to those unfamiliar with the field – gatekeeping the access to information, knowledge, and ultimately rights. With the right resources to disentangle these discussions, migration law, policy and scholarship can become more open and inclusive areas.


For this special issue, we are particularly interested in contributions that:

  • Explain a migration-related concept and analyse it critically. What meanings does this concept convey, from a legal, political, sociological, economic, anthropological perspective? How do different viewpoints (the migrant, the researcher, the practitioner) understand this concept?

  • Dive into the history of words in migration. How has a term or an idea originated? Has its meaning changed over time? What other concepts has it displaced or engulfed?

  • Examine how certain terms that do not necessarily represent a reality become widespread. How did ideas such as ‘Europe’s migration crisis’ become commonplace? What words make up the narratives of anti-immigration rhetoric? How do myth and fact combine in these discourses?

  • Analyse the use of language as a form of resistance. What words have been appropriated by migrant communities and advocates, and what claims do they convey? How do words used by migrant communities, often in their native language, become part of the mainstream vocabulary of migration? How do migrants analyse and articulate the situations they find themselves in? 

We are particularly interested in publishing work that lifts up the voices of people on the move and exploring (im)mobility in its many varied forms.


We are also keen on receiving pieces that analyse current news about migration and (im)mobility, or reflect on cultural developments related to these topics.


Articles should address a broad audience, made of experts and non-experts, and should be originally written in English or Spanish.

When: The deadline for proposals is 10 September.

How: If you are interested in proposing a submission for this issue, please send us a short abstract no longer than 250 words via email to: We would also like to hear about your relationship to migration and mobility (if you are a migrant, a researcher, a student, a practitioner...).

puerro largo.png

Article guidelines:

  1. The length of the piece should be between 700 and 1000 words.

  2. The article should consistently use British spelling and grammar, if you’re writing in English.

  3. The simpler the language the better. Try to briefly explain or add links to any concepts, organisations, policies… introduced in the article.

  4. Concepts and cited works/legislation/articles should be inserted in the article as hyperlinks.

  5. All acronyms should be specified in parentheses.

Some notes on the publication process:

  1. Once you send us your proposal, we will get back to you after the deadline for all submissions (10 September).

  2. First drafts are due on 24 September, for publication on 23 October. After you send us your first draft, your editor will get back to you with their comments, which you will review before publication.
  3. The article will be translated and promoted on social media.
  4. We understand this topic may be highly sensitive. If any writer wishes to remain anonymous, we commit to protecting their identity.

  5. Please be aware that any opinions you express in your article will be yours alone and not reflect Routed's or Discussing Displacement's general stance.

bottom of page