Cetta Mainwaring

Assistant Professor

Cetta Mainwaring

Department of Sociology and Legal Studies and Balsillie School of International Affairs

PhD International Relations (Oxford)
MA Sociology (City University)
BA Economics and French (University of Texas at Austin)


Research and Teaching Areas:


  • Migration and migration controls
  • Critical border studies
  • Resistance and migrant agency
  • Global migration governance
  • Small states and state power
  • European studies


  • Qualitative methodology
  • International Migration
  • Social Problems in a Global Context
  • Crossing Borders & Global Deviance

Current Research

My research is broadly interested in how and why people move across national borders, especially without state authorisation. I am also interested in how states respond to various forms of international mobility in attempts to deter, facilitate or shape such flows. My previous research examined these issues in Southern Europe, analysing the relationship between the European Union (EU) and small peripheral member states in order to understand how these relationships shape and are shaped by irregular immigration flows.

My current research investigates the historical evolution of visa policies as a form of migration control in the US and UK. In all of my research, I am interested in the relationship between the international and the local. I have therefore adopted ethnographic approaches to understanding international relations.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Mainwaring, Cetta & Brigden, Noelle (eds.). (forthcoming, 2016) 'Beyond the Border: Clandestine Migration Journeys', Special Issue Introduction, Geopolitics.

Bridgen, Noelle & Mainwaring, Cetta. (forthcoming, 2016) 'Matryoshka Journeys: Im/mobility during Migration', Geopolitics, part of Special Issue.

Mainwaring, Cetta (2014). ‘Small States and Non-Material Power: Creating Crises and Shaping Migration Policies in Malta, Cyprus and the European Union’. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 12(2): 103-122.

Mainwaring, Cetta (2012). ‘Resisting distalisation? Malta and Cyprus’ influence on EU migration and asylum policies’. Refugee Survey Quarterly, special issue, 31(4): 38-66.

Mainwaring, Cetta (2012). ‘Constructing a Crisis: The Role of Immigration Detention in Malta’. Population, Space and Place, special issue, 18(6): 687–700.

Mainwaring, Cetta (2008). ‘On the Edge of Exclusion: the changing nature of immigration in Cyprus and Malta’. The Cyprus Review, special issue, 20(2): 19-49.

Book Chapters

Mainwaring, Cetta. 2016, forthcoming. 'Transnational Migration and Control: Immigration Detention on the Edge of Europe' in Rich Furman, Alissa Ackerman and Douglas Epps (eds) Detaining the Immigrant Other: Global and Transnational Issues, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Mainwaring, Cetta. 2015. 'Fortifying the European Union? Immigration Detention in Malta and Cyprus' in Amy Nethery and Stephanie H. Silverman, eds., Immigration Detention: The Migration of a Policy and its Human Impact. London: Routledge.

Mainwaring, Cetta. 2014. 'Trying to Transit: The Changing Nature of Migration in Malta', in Franck Duvell, Irina Molodikova, & Michael Collyer, eds., Transit Migration in Europe, Amesterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Mainwaring, Cetta (2014). 'Malta' in Anna Triandafyllidou and Ruby Gropas, eds., European Migration: A Sourcebook, 2nd ed., Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 249-260.

Mainwaring, Cetta (2013). ‘Deported: A Migration Scholar’s Experience’ in Filippo Menozzi, Bahriye Kemal, and Tinashe Mushakavanhu, eds., Visa Stories. Experiences between Law and Migration, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 65-72.

Mainwaring, Cetta (2012). ‘In the Face of Revolution: the Libyan Civil War and Migration Politics in Southern Europe’, in Stephen Calleya, Derek Lutterbeck, Monika Wohlfeld, and Omar Grech, eds., The EU and Political Change in Neighbouring Regions: Lessons for EU’s Interaction with the Southern Mediterranean, Malta: University of Malta Press, pp. 431-451.

Mainwaring, Cetta (2009). ‘Controlling transit migration in the Mediterranean: Malta as the EU’s New Gatekeeper?’, in Franck Düvell and Irina Molodikova, eds., Transit Migration, Transit Countries: Theories, Cases, and Politics, Moscow: Logos (in Russian).

University of Waterloo

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