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Scott Watson

Associate professor and chair

Political Science

Office: DTB A316
PhD (2006) (UBC)
Area of expertise:
International relations theory, securitization, migration

Office hours

 Summer 2024 office hours: by appointment.


  • securitisation and the social construction of security/insecurity
  • international relations theory
  • international security
  • migration and refugee policy

About Dr. Watson

Scott Watson received his BA (History) and MA (Political Science) from the University of Waterloo, and his PhD from UBC (2006) and joined UVic in 2006. He is an associate professor and teaches courses on international relations, security studies, nationalism and ethnic conflict and ethics in world politics.

His research interests have centered on the construction of security threats and conditions of 'national' insecurity, particularly in the realm of migration; as well as the role various actors play in these processes. He has published two monographs, The Securitisation of Humanitarian Migration (Routledge, 2009) and International Order and the Politics of Disaster (Routledge UK, London 2020).

His current research interests include re-conceptualizing human security as a process of securitisation; mapping the relationship of the mass media to the construction of insecurity; and exploring how private insecurity corporations support and subvert statist discourses of danger in the realm of migration and contagious disease. He is also faculty advisor for the WUSC UVic local committee.


Dr. Watson teaches courses on international relations.

On leave July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2025

Previous courses taught:
  • POLI 240: International Relations
  • POLI 341: The United Nations and Global Issues
  • POLI 345: Ethics in International Relations
  • POLI 348: International Security
  • POLI 433/533: Issues in Politics "Nationalism and Violent Conflict" (Seminar)
  • POLI 433/533: Issues in Politics: "The Politics of Disaster"
  • POLI 540/640: International Relations Graduate Seminar



  • 2020 International Order and the Politics of Disaster (Routledge UK, London).
  • 2009 The Securitization of Humanitarian Migration: Digging Moats and Sinking Boats (Routledge UK, London).

Articles published in refereed journals

  • 2023 Watson, Scott D. "Conspiracy Theories and Human Trafficking: Coercive Power, Normative Ambiguity and Epistemic Uncertainty" Journal of Human Trafficking DOI: 10.1080/23322705.2023.2193926.
  • 2018 Watson, Scott and Regan Burles. "Regulating NGO Funding: Securitizing the Political" International Relations 32(4): 430-448.
  • 2017 Watson, Scott D. "Everyday Nationalism and International Hockey: Contesting Canadian National Identity" Nations and Nationalism, 23(2): 289-308.
  • 2015 "The Ambiguity of Human and Humanitarian Smuggling" Migration, Mobility & Displacement, Vol.1(1) pp. 39-54.
  • 2015 "Impugning the Humanitarian Defence" International Migration, Vol 53(2) pp.353-373.
  • 2013 "Macrosecuritization and the Securitization Dilemma in the Canadian Arctic" Critical Studies of Security, Vol. 1(3) pp. 265-279.
  • 2012 "Framing the Copenhagen School: Integrating the Threat Construction Literature", Millennium – Journal of International Studies, 40(2) pp. 279-301 January.
  • 2011 "The 'Human' as the Referent Object of Security: A re-conceptualization of humanitarianism and human security" Security Dialogue, Vol. 42(1) pp. 3-20 February.
  • 2011 "Back Home Safe and Sound: The Public and Private Production of Insecurity" International Political Sociology, Vol. 5(2) pp. 160-177 June.
  • 2007 "Manufacturing Threats: Asylum Seekers as Threats or Refugees?" Journal of International Law and International Relations, Vol. 3:1 pp. 95-116.

Book chapters

  • 2022 Watson, Scott D. "Canada and Global Migration Governance: the Benevolent Status Quo State" in Carpenter, M.; M. Kelly, and O. Schmidtke (eds.) Borders and Migration: The Canadian Experience in Comparative Perspective (University of Ottawa Press, Ottawa).
  • 2021 Watson, Scott D. and Corey Robinson. "Knowledge Controversies of global migration governance: Understanding the controversy surround the Global Compact" in Dauvergne, C. (ed) Research Handbook on the Law and Politics of Migration (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK).
  • 2014 Watson, Scott "Institutionalizing and Implementing the Disaster Relief Norm: the League of Red Cross Societies and the International Relief Union" in Orchard, Phil and Betts, Alexander, eds. Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice (Oxford, Oxford University Press) pp 391-422.