Documents for download
Faculty report 2015
IPSE Factsheet
leaflet for download
leaflet for download
leaflet for download

Harlan Koff

Harlan Koff


Research Topics Comparative regional integration, International development, Political economy , Sustainable development
Faculty or Centre Faculté des Lettres, des Sciences Humaines, des Arts et des Sciences de l'Education
Research Unit IPSE
Postal Address Université du Luxembourg
Maison des Sciences Humaines
11, Porte des Sciences
L-4366 Esch-sur-Alzette
Campus Office MSH, E02 25-360
Telephone (+352) 46 66 44 6270
Fax (+352) 46 66 44 36270

Harlan Koff is Professor of Social Sciences-Migration Studies at the University of Luxembourg since March 2013 and Director of the Political Science Institute since its creation within the IPSE Research Unit en December 2006. He also coordinates Axe III of the European Governance Program (Comparative Governance: Europe in the World), and he is founding President of the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) as well as coordinator of RISC’s working group on “Comparative Border and Migration Politics.”

Before coming to the University of Luxembourg, Dr. Koff was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Université de Lille 1, Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute and Visiting Fellow at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He completed his M.A. (1997) and Ph.D. (2002) at Duke University (USA) and his B.A. at the State University of New York at Binghamton (USA).

Harlan Koff is authorized to direct research (supervision of Ph.D. disserations, postdoctoral scholars and visiting fellows). His fields of research are comparative politics and international relations. In particular, he works in the fields of comparative migration politics, comparative border politics, human rights, comparative regional integration, development, and non-governmental organizations and civil society. He is author of Fortress Europe or a Europe of Fortresses ?: The Integration of Migrants in Western Europe (2008) and editor of Social Cohesion in Europe and the Americas : Power, Time and Space, (2009), Perspectivas Comparativas de Liderazgo (co-editor with Carmen Maganda) Deceiving (Dis)Appearances: Analyzing Current Developments in European and North American Border Regions (2007) and Migrant Integration in European Cities (2003). Dr. Koff also coordinates a book series entitled Regional Integration and Social Cohesion for P.I.E.-Peter Lang (Brussels) and he is member of the editorial committee of the journal Estudios Políticos. Finally he has published articles in internationally recognized peer reviewed journals, such as: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Ethnopolitics , Estudios Políticos , Déviance et Société , The Journal of European Integration , Italian Politics , Migraciones Internacionales , et The Journal of Health and Human Resources Administration, as well as numerous book chapters in English, Spanish, Italian and French.

His present research projects analyze the impact of regional integration on border communities. Specifically, he is working on a comparative project on border regions in Europe (Bari, Italie- Durres, Albanie et Nord France-Sud Belgique), North America (San Diego, Etats-Unis-Tijuana, Mexico), and South America (Cúcuta, Colombia-San Crístobal, Venezuela). This research examines cross-border political cooperation, economic transformations in these border regions and their impacts on social marginalization, organized crime and migration regimes. Moreover, Dr. Koff is the head of the BRIDGE (Border Regions in Different Geographic Espaces) project which focuses on power relationships in Luxembourg’s Greater Region in comparison with Belize.

With Carmen Maganda, Harlan Koff coordinates a lecture series entitled “Development Addressing Inequalities: Rights and Responsibilities” which is organized with Luxembourgish non-governmental organizations working in global development politics (Cercle de Coopération, Action Solidarité Tiers Monde and Caritas) and financed by the Fonds National de la Recherche. His also represents Luxembourg in the European Association of Development Research and Training Networks’ Executive Committee and he has participated in various international initiatives focusing on development and human rights in Africa (Mali, Morocco) and Latin America (Colombia, Mexico). He is a member of the steering committee for the University of Luxembourg’s Human Rights Observatory.


Fortress Europe or a Europe of Fortresses?: The Integration of Migrants in Western Europe

The integration of non-EU migrants is one of the most salient issues in contemporary European politics and social scientists have dedicated significant attention to this question. Even though this field is generally characterized by its richness, its weakness has been its focus on specific aspects of immigration, such as political participation, immigrant entrepreneurship, models of citizenship, etc. This book addresses migrant integration in its complexity. First, it compares and analyzes local integration regimes because levels and modes of integration vary throughout Europe, all the way to the sub-national level. Second, the book discusses integration issues in various arenas, including political party systems, welfare regimes, social movements, civil society, economic sectors, housing, urban planning, and crime. In doing so, the study addresses the relationships between integration in various spheres, thus embracing the complexity of integration processes. Finally, the book attempts to explain the links between political, economic and social integration through interdisciplinary analysis based on power, class and status.

Deceiving (Dis)Appearances: Analyzing Current Developments in European and North American Border Regions

The impact of recent shifts in global geopolitics and economic markets has led to the re-conceptualization of national borders. Scholars have shifted their analysis away from the narrow idea of «borders», and moved their attention towards the wider view of «borderlands», «border regions», and «border zones», thus, leading to the conceptual re-definition of border politics. These recent approaches have identified border areas as socially constructed territories that demonstrate many of the characteristics of independent polities. Border communities seem to have come to life, creating a degree of autonomy and separation from central state actors. While the rich literature in border studies identifies important changes in local political and economic systems, it does not necessarily identify the mechanisms that create these changes: Why has integration occurred in some border regions while others are being reinforced? Why has integration failed in some cases where opportunity structures are positive, while it has succeeded in others saddled with more limited constraints? The essays in this volume address such fundamental questions.


“El poder político y la política fronteriza en Europa: la utilidad de comparar las fronteras internas y externas de la UE” Estudios Políticos 32 (Julio-Diciembre 2008).

“Las Políticas Fronterizas Comparadas y Las Estructuras del Poder” Estudios Políticos 32 (Julio-Diciembre 2008).

“Decentralization, Democratic Participation and Authoritarian Dogma: Local Opposition to Minority Integration in France, Italy and the United States” Ethnopolitics Vol. 6, N. 2, (June 2007): pp. 315-336.

“La Protección de los grupos étnicos en europa occidental: El estado de la ley contra la competencia politica,” Estudios Politicos 29 (Julio-Diciembre 2007).

“Security, Markets and Power: The Relationship Between EU Enlargement and Immigration,” Journal of European Integration, Volume 27 (2) 2005: pp. 397-416.

KoffJEI.pdf 77.60 kB

“Migrant Participation in Local European Democracies: Understanding Social Capital Through Social Movement Analysis” Migraciones Internacionales 9, Vol.3, N. 2 (Julio - Diciembre 2005): pp. 5-28.

“On the Cutting Edge: Intended and Unintended Consequences of Regional Integration in Border Communities in North America and Europe” Working Paper, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, 2006.

KoffEUI.pdf 134.51 kB

Last updated on: Monday, 04 March 2013

powered by

In press

Top of Page


See detailOutside-In region-building: The role of border integration zones in Andean regional integration
Koff, Harlan

in Nadalutti, Elisabetta; Kallscheuer, Otto (Eds.) Region-Making and Cross-Border Cooperation: New Evidence from Four Continents (2018)

Top of Page


Full Text
See detailPolicy Coherence for Development and Migration: Analysing US and EU Policies through the Lens of Normative Transformation
Koff, Harlan

in Regions & cohesion = Regiones y Cohesión = Regions and Cohesion (2017), 7(2), 5-33

Top of Page


Full Text
See detailThe Social Impacts of Informal Sectors in Border Regions: Cross-regional Perspectives
Koff, Harlan; Du Bry, Travis

in Journal of Borderlands Studies (2016)

Full Text
See detailThe EU and The Human Right to Water and Sanitation: Normative Coherence as the Key to Transformative Development
Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen


Full Text
See detailEnvironmental Security in Transnational Contexts: What Relevance for Regional Human Security Regimes?
Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen

in Globalizations (2016), 13(6), 653-663

See detail“Cross-border environmental peace” in development contexts: the convergence of peace with de-territorialized development
Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen; Conde, Gilberto

in Revista de Paz y Conflictos (2016), 9(1), 7-16

Full Text
See detailAnalyzing the Dynamics of Inter-state water peace: A study of the Huitzilapan-Xalapa Water Transfers
Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen; Ruelas, Laura

in Revista de Paz y Conflictos (2016), 9(2), 59-83

See detailExploring the Migration-Security-Development Nexus: A Caparison of Chinese and EU Migration Policies
Koff, Harlan; Meng-Hsuan, Chou; Van Dongen, Els

in Kirchner, Emil; Christiansen, Thomas; Dorussen, Han (Eds.) Security Relations Between the European Union and China: From Convergence to Cooperation? (2016)

Top of Page


See detailUrban Air Makes Who Free? Immigration and Urban Citizenship in Contemporary Europe
Koff, Harlan

in Pauly, Michel; Lee, Alexander (Eds.) Urban liberties and citizenship from the Middle Ages up to now (2015)

Full Text
See detailInformal Economies in European and American Cross-border Regions
Koff, Harlan

in Journal of Borderlands Studies (2015), 30(4), 469-487

Full Text
See detailAgainst the current: transboundary water management in small states on two continents
Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen

in WATER INTERNATIONAL (2015), 40(2), 231-250

Top of Page


See detailBack to the Future?: Intra-regional Migration and Development in West Africa
Koff, Harlan

in Boesen, Elisabeth; Marfaing, Laurence (Eds.) Nomades et migrants dans l’espace Sahara-Sahel: Mobilité, ressources et développement (2014)

See detailWater Security in Cross-Border Regions: What Relevance for Federal Human Security Regimes?
Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen

in Garrick, Dustin; Anderson, George; Connell, Daniel; Pittock, Jamie (Eds.) Federal Rivers: Managing Water in Multi-layered Political Systems (2014)

See detailLiving on the Edge: Migration, Citizenship and The Renegotiation of Social Contracts in European Border Regions
Koff, Harlan; Naranjo Giraldo, Gloria Elena

in Fauri, Francesca (Ed.) Emigration from and to Europe: a multidisciplinary long-term view (2014)

Top of Page


See detailTheorizing Borders Through Analyses of Power relationships.
Gilles, Peter; Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen; Schulz, Christian

Book published by PIE-Peter Lang (2013)

See detailComparing the 'A, B, C'S' of social cohesion across world regions: Association, Belonging and Change
Koff, Harlan

in Moore, Candice (Ed.) Regional Integration and Social Cohesion: Perspectives from the Developing World (2013)

See detailPutting “Power” into Borderlands Studies: “Bringing the State Back In”
Koff, Harlan

in Gilles, Peter; Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen; Schulz, Christian (Eds.) Theorizing Borders Through Analyses of Power Relationships (2013)

Top of Page


Full Text
See detailRegions & Cohesion
Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen

in Regions & cohesion = Regiones y Cohesión = Regions and Cohesion (2012)

Top of Page


Full Text
See detailUnderstanding 'La Contagion': Power, Exclusion and Urban Violence in France and the United States
Koff, Harlan


Full Text
See detailThe 2005 Riots in France: The International Impact of Domestic Violence
Koff, Harlan; Duprez, Dominique


See detailPerspectivas Comparativas del Liderazgo: RISC 2008
Koff, Harlan; Maganda, Carmen

Book published by Peter Lang (2009)

Top of Page


Top of Page


Top of Page


See detailA comparison of the political demonstrations in France and the US in 2005-2006
Koff, Harlan

in DEVIANCE ET SOCIETE (2006), 30(4), 449-461

Top of Page


See detailThe outsider: Prejudice and politics in Italy.
Koff, Harlan


Top of Page