Dr Roxana Barbulescu

Dr Roxana Barbulescu


My area of expertise focuses on migrant communities and practices of migration and mobility particularly in connection with migrants' and refugees’ rights, citizenship, intra-EU mobility, diverse cities, borders, migration control and nations. I am a social scientist with an interest in policy interventions and enthusiasm for comparative research.

For my current research I lead the ‘Feeding the Nation: Seasonal Migrant Workers and Food Security during the COVID-19 Pandemic’ is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and on with work with Professor Carlos vargas-Silva (COMPAS, University of Oxford). The project explores the role seasonal migrant workers and farmers in pandemic times, their recruitment and working practices in situations of severe international travel restrictions and a re-imagined post-Brexit immigration. Working with Professor Adrian Favell and colleagues in the School, I also contribute (Co-I) to the Northern Exposure: Race, Nation and Dissatisfaction in ‘Ordinary’ Towns and Cities in England funded by the Economic and Social Research Council Governance after Brexit scheme. The later seeks to unpack the impact of Brexit on long term residents from the White British and Eastern European, Black British Windrush generation and South Asian community in pro-Brexit postindustrial towns. My previous research looked at access to citizenship and naturalisation practices, responses to the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, unaccompanied minors and limits of state activism, antiracism and Roma community and intra-European migration after the 2008 financial crisis. Since my arrival in the School, I co-founded the Commission on Diversity in the North, a multi-actor working group of key stakeholders including with statutory agencies, civil society organisation local authorities, the police and migrant community leaders including the Runnymede Trust and New Europeans, IPPR North, Stop Hate UK, Leeds Jewish Representative Council.

My first book Migrant Integration in a Changing Europe. Immigrants, European Citizens and Co-ethnics in Italy and Spain (University of Notre Dame Press, December 2019) is comparative in approach and seeks to explain migrant integration strategies across national, regional, and city-levels. I argue that societies pursue no one-size-fits-all strategy for the integration of migrants, but rather simultaneously pursue multiple strategies that vary by category and which sit on a spectrum of multiculturalism to neoassimilation. In doing so, societies, ascribe integration duties that are inversely correlated with rights and social inequalities, posing high duties and few rights on the most socially disadvantaged categories while freeing from integration duties and accruing more rights to those better off.

I have received a PhD in Social and Political Sciences from European University Institute (Florence, Italy), MA in Intercultural Humanities, Jacobs University Bremen (Germany) and she read in Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Craiova (Romania) and University of Bielefeld (Germany) for her undergraduate studies. Before joining the School of Sociology and Social Policy in 2016, I had a number of research positions at the ESRC Centre for Population Studies, University of Southampton, the College of Europe and the University of Sheffield.

I serve as reviewer for various funding agencies including ESRC, Horizon2020, DAAD and Agencia Espanola de la Investigacion.

I am an Associate at the ESRC Centre for Population Research, IMISCOE Standing Committee on Migration, Citizenship and Political Research and Romanian Network for Migration Studies. I sit on the Advisory Board of Comparative Migration Studies, I am Country Expert for the GLOBACIT Citizenship Observatory.

Research interests

My research interests are comparative migrants’ rights regimes, immigrant integration and race relations, citizenship, freedom of movement in EU, attitudes towards immigrants and Roma people, unaccompanied minors and the sociology of human rights. I am particularly interested in new and atypical migrations in UK and Europe.

Media coverage and contributions:

TV: BBC News Channel live (26/11/18, 2.20pm)
Interview on the impact of Brexit on migration and local communities in the North of England. 

Radio: BBC Radio 5 Live (26/11/18, 6.15pm)
BBC Radio 5 Live 26th November - Broadcast (link only available for 1 month)
Interview on the potential implications of Brexit for European citizens and local communities in their everyday lives. From 2h15m.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Student education

I contribute to modules on migration, ethnicity, refugees and social policy at undergraduate and graduate level.

I convene SLP2690 module Racism, Ethnicity, Migration and Decolonial Studies.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies
  • Leeds Social Science Institute

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>