MA, DPhil (Sussex)
(Deceased), 2022-08-08


Professor Stephen Castles (1944-2022)

Prof Stephen Castles was an internationally renowned scholar and pioneer in the field of international migration who played a key role in establishing the global importance of the field in the social sciences. He was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 1997. Prof Stephen Castles taught Sociology and Political Economy at the Fachhochschule Frankfurt in Main from 1972-85. From 1986 to 2000 he was Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Multicultural Studies (1986-96) and then Director of the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies, at the University of Wollongong (1994 to 2001). He was appointed Director of the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University (2001-2006) and Director of the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford until August 2009. He took up an appointment as Research Chair in Sociology at the University of Sydney in 2009 in the then Department of Sociology and Social Policy and held an Honorary Professorship on his retirement in 2018. He also contributed to the field as an advisor on migration policy to the Australian and British Governments, and worked for the ILO, the IOM, the European Union and other international bodies.

Stephen established his reputation in the field very early in his career with the publication S. Castles and G. Kosack (1973) Immigrant Workers and Class Structure in Western Europe. London: Oxford University Press which is a classic. His book S. Castles and M.J. Miller (2009) The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, Palgrave-Macmillan and Guilford Books is now in sixth edition and has also been published in Chinese and Turkish translations. He authored and co-authored more than 30 books on issues related to migration. He was a penetrating thinker in the field with an encyclopaedic knowledge of world migration. His work linked migration to largescale processes, especially economic globalisation. His career was characterized by his extensive collaboration in research projects and publications with scholars all over the world encompassing studies of migration in relation to global governance, multiculturalism, transnationalism and development in Australia, Europe, Africa and Asia. His work was always motivated by a strong ethical commitment to equality and the fight against prejudice and racism. 

During his life Stephen developed an enormous network of colleagues and friends all over the world. He cherished his role as a teacher and enjoyed the intellectual vitality and enthusiasm of his students who remained friends with him for life. His generous intellect, warm personality, attentiveness and kindness drew students to him. He was greatly appreciated by his department colleagues at the University of Sydney as warm, humorous and intellectually engaged and always willing to contribute to the common good.

Stephen is survived by his partner, Ellie Vasta, also a sociologist, two daughters, Freyja Castles and Jenny Wustenberg, and five grandchildren. 

*Obituary written by Michael Humphrey

  • Stephen Castles (2003) Towards a sociology of forced migration and social transformation, Sociology.
  • Stephen Castles (2000) Ethnicity and Globalization: From Migrant Worker to Transnational Citizen. London: Sage.
  • Stephen Castles and Alastair Davidson (2000) Immigration and Citizenship: Globalisation and the Politics of Belonging. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave (Macmillan).
  • Stephen Castles, Will Foster, Robyn Iredale, Glenn Withers (1998) Immigration and Australia: Myths and Realities. Syndey: Allen and Unwin.
  • The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World (Fourth Edition, with Mark Miller, Basingstoke, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009);
  • Migration, Citizenship and the European Welfare State: A European Dilemma (with Carl-Ulrik Schierup and Peo Hansen, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006);
  • Migration and Development: Perspectives from the South (edited with Raúl Delgado Wise, Geneva: International Organization for Migration, 2008).