Dr. Laura Cleton


Research group(s):
6. Migration and Development

Laura Cleton is a researcher in return migration, diaspora and development at UNU-MERIT/Maastricht University. Her dissertation entitled Deporting Children. Policy Framing, Legitimation and Intersectional Boundary Work (University of Antwerp, Department of Political Science) relied on critical migration and border studies, intersectionality and interpretative policy analysis to question how the Dutch and Belgian authorities legitimize the deportation of undocumented migrant children. It argued that they do so through a conscious attempt to (re)frame the policy problem at hand, by deliberately drawing attention away from the underlying moral-political conflict and the hardships deportation poses for children. Instead, they on the one hand emphasized the diligence of their procedures and their compassionate way of working, while on the other also directing attention to the potential danger that children and their family pose to the citizenry. The dissertation complicates scholarly understanding of the workings of securitization and humanitarianism as means to legitimate migration control, and points to the crucial importance of intersectionality and interpretative policy analysis to deportation studies.

At UNU-MERIT, Laura works on the Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) evaluation study. This study seeks to understand if temporary return programs for ‘skilled’ diaspora members supported by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) enable the transfer of skills and knowledge to diaspora members’ countries of nationality. It not only questions what this process looks like and what (enduring) effects it has, but also challenges the underlying assumptions and discourses embedded in diaspora engagement for development.

Prior to starting her postdoc and PhD, she worked as a junior lecturer in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (University of Amsterdam) and a junior researcher in Social Geography (Utrecht University). She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and acts as the secretary of the Dutch Association for Migration Research (DAMR). Her research interests include migration governance, migration policies & politics, voluntary and forced return migration, gendered & feminist approaches to migration studies, and family migration.

Contact: laura.cleton@maastrichtuniversity.nl 

Find Laura on Twitter, LinkedIn and Research Gate.

Selected publications by Laura Cleton