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Adamson, Fiona and Greenhill, Kelly M. (2023) 'Deal-making, Diplomacy and Transactional Forced Migration.' International Affairs, 99 (2). pp. 707-725.

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Former US President Donald J. Trump was infamous for his nakedly transactional approach to politics. However, as we demonstrate in this article through the lens of migration politics, this kind of unabashedly transactional approach is less an outlier than a common feature of contemporary international politics. Drawing in part upon initial findings from our ongoing Diplomacy of Forced Migration Dataset Project, we explore historical and contemporary cases to illustrate how transactional migration management ‘deals’ such as the 2022 UK–Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership are not particularly new, unusual, or revolutionary. In this exploration of the long history of deal-making in the realm of forced migration management, we first define the phenomenon—which we term transactional forced migration (TFM)—and situate it within the growing literature on migration diplomacy, externalization and what is known as the instrumentalization and/or weaponization of migration. We then highlight illustrative historical precedents that presage what we are witnessing today. We additionally identify and unpack several of the under-appreciated connections between TFM schemes and other dimensions of diplomacy and international politics. We conclude with a summary of our argument, its implications for contemporary policy and a few thoughts about what current trends suggest the future is likely to hold.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 14682346
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2023 14:52
Funders: Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, European Union

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