Immobility and the containment of solutions: Reflections on the Global Compacts, Mixed Migration and the Transformation of Protection

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • School of Advanced Study, University of London


Since negotiations began in 2015 on the two Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees, many within academia have felt uncomfortable engaging with the processes. This reflects a general weariness around new international co-operation agreements, the perceived control over the two processes by key international agencies, and an apparent lack of postcolonial voices in the drafting and consultation stages. However, with both Compacts now adopted, there has been a marked increase in engagement within academia and policy circles. This post-script to the special issue reflects on the discussions presented in the articles and the Compacts more broadly. The focus is on two main themes that emerge when reading this special issue: i) forms of protection; and ii) the concept of mixed migration. This article finds that within both these two themes, attention continues to focus on protection and movement between states, rather than between regions. As such, it remains uncertain how the Compacts will be able to shift the dominance of self-serving policies imposed by the Global North. Nevertheless, the article concludes by attempting to find some glimmers of optimism. Currently there exists the political space (however slight) for various actors to try and utilise the Compacts to improve protection and opportunities for migrants who adopt mobility strategies – particularly for those who choose to move between global regions in this postcolonial era


Original languageEnglish
JournalInterventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Oct 2020


  • Mixed migration, Global Compacts, Mobility, protection, containment, Global South

ASJC Scopus subject areas