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School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Rachel Humphris , BA (Hons) (Durham), MPhil (Oxford), DPhil (Oxford), PGCertHE (Birmingham)


Lecturer in Sociology and Politics

Room Number: Arts One, Room 2.34A
Website: @rachel_humphris
Office Hours: Tuesday 11.30am - 12.30pm


Dr Rachel Humphris is a political sociologist whose research and teaching focuses on immigration and citizenship, urban governance, gender and race. Prior to joining the School of Politics and International Relations in September 2019 she was a Lecturer in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Birmingham (2017 – 2019) and Research Fellow at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford (2014-2017). Rachel has been a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, University of California at Berkeley, York University Toronto and the University of Sheffield.

Rachel’s research programme is methodologically diverse, theoretically grounded and empirically driven. She employs qualitative research methods that engage with theories and debates in migration studies, social policy and critical urbanism. Much of her work is inherently interdisciplinary, cutting across research in anthropology, geography, politics, public policy and sociology. Her published research can be found in Antipode, Geopolitics, the Sociological Review, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, among others. Her monograph, Home-land: Romanian Roma, domestic spaces and the state was published with University of Bristol/University of Chicago Press in March 2019.

Rachel is the recipient of several awards and fellowships including the Human Welfare Prize, University of Oxford (2014), the Aston Webb Award for Outstanding Early Career Academic, University of Birmingham (2019) and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2018 – 2021).

Rachel is an Associate Editor for the journal Sociology and co-convenor of the British Sociological Association Migration, Transnationalism and Diaspora Group. She has also worked for numerous UN and international agencies including UNHCR, International Organisation on Migration, World Health Organisation and the OECD.

Undergraduate Teaching

I am currently on research leave.

Postgraduate Teaching

Rachel is interested in supervising doctoral students related to her research interests.


Current PhD students:

Benedetta Zocchi (Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarships Programme)


Research Interests:

My research focuses on the relationship between migration and citizenship and the impact on local lives, identities and places. My work is grounded in contexts of rapid urban change in North America and Europe. My research agenda touches on several themes including radical positive programmes for urban futures; the influence of various forms of mobility on urban political and moral economies; and the governance of urban marginality.

I conducted long-term ethnographic research with Roma migrants from central and eastern Romania. My book Home-land: Romanian Roma, domestic spaces and the state (Bristol University Press, 2019) is an ethnography of new migrant families’ experiences of making home in a ‘downscaled’ urban area in the context of hostile national immigration, welfare, and labour policies. My current project Welcoming Cities? Understanding sanctuary in securitised states is a policy ethnography of urban sanctuary policy and practice across Canada, United States and UK. The project explores how migration is creating new urban dynamics requiring new methodologies and theoretical approaches to re-think the contemporary city.


Previous research projects:

EU families and 'eurochildren' in Brexiting Britain: renegotiating inclusion, citizenship and belonging, ESRC UK in a Changing Europe programme

Becoming adult: Conceptions of futures and wellbeing among young people subject to immigration control in the UK, ESRC

UPWEB: Understanding the practice and developing the concept of welfare bricolage in diverse European cities, NORFACE

Migration and Toleration in Western Europe, Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation, Berlin (EVZ)

Public health aspects of migrant health: the evidence on health status for refugees and asylum seekers in the European Region, World Health Organisation, Copenhagen

KING: Knowledge for Integration Governance, Foundation for Initiatives and Studies on Multi-Ethnicity, European Commission

Welfare, neighbourhood and new geographies of diversity, COMPAS, University of Oxford

Making the most of EU Funds for Sustainable Housing and Inclusion of disadvantaged Roma (explicitly but not exclusively targeted), United Nations Development Programme, Bratislava

Sinai and related routes: trafficking and smuggling from Eritrea to Egypt and Israel, Policy Development and Evaluation Service United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva


Selected publications. See for complete list.


Humphris, R (2019) ‘Home-land: Romanian Roma, domestic space and the state’ Bristol: University of Bristol Press/ University of Chicago Press

Book Chapters

Humphris, R., (2019) ‘On the threshold: becoming Romanian Roma, everyday racism and residency rights in transition’ in Can Yıldız and Nicholas De Genova (eds.) Roma Migrants in the European Union: Un/Free Mobility Routledge: London

Humphris, R., & Bradby, H. (2017) (invited chapter contribution) Health Status of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Europe. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health.

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Humphris, R. and Sigona, N. (2019) ‘The bureaucratic capture of child migrants: effects of in/visibility on children on the move’ Antipode

Meloni, F., and Humphris, R. (2019) Citizens of nowhere: The paradoxes of care and responsibility for unaccompanied minors in the UK Journal of Refugee Studies doi: 10.1093/jrs/fez037 

Humphris R, and Sigona N. (2019) Outsourcing the ‘best interests’ of unaccompanied asylum seeking minors in the era of austerity Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 45:2, 312-330.

Pemberton S, Bradby H, Humphris R, Padilla B, Phillimore J, and Samerski S. (2019) Access to healthcare in superdiverse cities Health and Place doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2018.12.0

Bradby H, Humphris R, and Padilla B. (2018) Universalism, diversity and norms: Gratitude, healthcare and welfare chauvinism Critical Public Health doi: 10.1080/09581596.2018.1522420

Humphris R. (2018) Mutating faces of the state? Austerity, migration and faith-based volunteers in the UK The Sociological Review doi: 10.1177/0038026118

Humphris R. (2018) On the threshold: becoming Romanian Roma, everyday racism and residency rights in transition Social Identities 24:4, 505-519

Phillimore J, Humphris R, and Khan K. (2018) Reciprocity for new migrant integration: resource conservation, investment and exchange Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44:2, 215-232

Allen W, Anderson B, Van Hear N, Sumption M, Düvell F, Hough J, Rose L, Humphris R, and Walker S. (2018) Who Counts in Crises? The New Geopolitics of International Migration and Refugee Governance Geopolitics 23:1, 217-243

Humphris R, (2017) Borders of home: Roma migrant mothers negotiating boundaries in home encounters Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 43:7, 1190-1204