Personal profile


Simon joined the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations as a Research Fellow in September 2014. Prior to that he completed a PhD at King’s College London in 2013 and was a visiting researcher at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) and the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Migration at the Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain).

Simon is the author of Immigration and Citizenship in an Enlarged European Union (Palgrave, 2015) and editor of The Handbook of International Political Economy of Migration (co-edited with Leila Talani, Edward Elgar, 2015), as well as often contributing written pieces to more mainstream outlets such as The Guardian and The Conversation. Recently, he worked on the MEDMIG project which was the first large-scale, systematic and comparative study of the backgrounds, experiences, routes and aspirations of refugees and migrants in during the so-called ‘migration crisis’ in the Mediterranean. He has received research funding from sources including the Economic and Social Research Council, Open Society Foundation, Ben & Jerrys, Santander Bank and the Anglo-Spanish Society.

Research Interests

Comparative politics and policymaking, international migration, citizenship, diversity

Vision Statement

My research is on comparative politics, with a specific focus on the governance of international migration, diversity and citizenship. This has concentrated on two main areas. On one hand, I have examined how and why the politics of migration and diversity vary from time to time and place to place, asking who influences dominant perspectives, when and how. On the other hand, I have examined the governance of irregular migration and refugee reception in Southern Europe and the broader Mediterranean region. Most recently, this has led me to begin exploring the relationships between humanitarianism and border security in contexts of irregular migration.

Area of Expertise

Political sociology

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migration Social Sciences
migrant Social Sciences
immigration Social Sciences
crisis Social Sciences
political economy Social Sciences
refugee Social Sciences
people Social Sciences
international migration Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2015 2018

Making and unmaking migrant irregularity: a border city during Italy’s ‘migration crisis’

McMahon, S. 2018 (Accepted/In press) The Routledge Handbook of the Governance of Migration and Diversity in Cities . Caponio, T., Scholten, P. & Zapata-Barrero, R. (eds.). Routledge

Research output: Research - peer-reviewChapter

national border

Navigating the Central Mediterranean in a time of ‘crisis’: Disentangling migration governance and migrant journeys

McMahon, S. & Sigona, N. 16 Jan 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Sociology. (in press), p. (in press)

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

migration policy
4 Citations

The evolving (re)categorisations of refugees throughout the ‘Refugee/Migrant crisis’

Goodman, S., Sirriyeh, A. & McMahon, S. 1 Mar 2017 In : Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. 27, 2, p. 105-114 10 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Open Access
Great Britain
1 Citations
economic crisis
budget consolidation
public spending

Unravelling Europe's 'Migration Crisis': Journeys Over Land and Sea

Crawley, H., Franck, D., Jones, K., McMahon, S. & Sigona, N. 13 Dec 2017 Bristol: Policy Press. 200 p.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewBook