Wednesday, March 5, 2008

migrants ambassadors for democratic development of Europe

A research project at University of Oxford:
Diffusion and Context of Transnational Migrant Organisations in Europe

Research Objectives and Rationale

All over Europe, migrants have set up cultural, political, economic and social association. These migrant organisations play a central role in integrating migrants into host societies. The civic participation of migrants is also crucial for the democratic development of Europe and for the future enhancement of European civil societies. Accordingly, the importance of migrant organisations has been recognised by national and European political institutions, and the promotion of migrants’ participation in civil societies has been formulated as a policy-aim, for instance by the European Commission.

However, in an increasingly globalised world, the issues of integration and migrants’ civic participation cannot be adequately addressed by analytical concepts which focus exclusively on the nation-state. In the last two decades, new political, social, cultural and economic migratory realities, which span countries of origin and arrival, have emerged. Furthermore, current research shows that linkages of migrant organisations with countries of origin have intensified during the last decade. Mobilising diaspora organisations for development is now a key aim of international agencies (like the International Organisation for Migration) and national development agencies (such as Britain’s Department for International Development).

Although much has been written on transnationalism, most empirical research on transnational migrant organisations in Europe so far has been fairly unsystematic and has not generated comparative data for cross-national analysis. This situation calls for a transnational analysis which can grasp current developments in international migration and which can identify the linkages of migrant organisations with their countries of origin. For this reason, the research project “Diffusion and Contexts of Transnational Migrants’ Organisations in Europe (TRAMO)” has developed an analytical framework addressing both transnational organisations and the border-crossing contexts in which they exist.

Project Aims

* To identify the characteristics of cross border migrant organisations (CBMOs)
* To analyse the diffusion of transnational migrant organisations (TRAMOs)
* To study the contextual factors which influence the emergence of TRAMOs
* To address the consequences of the transnationalisation of migrant organisations for participation and incorporation of migrants in European national societies.

The research questions for the project will be based on criteria derived from the sociology of organisations. The methods will be both quantitative and qualitative, and will be designed to produce comparative data, allowing cross-national analysis of the situation and significance of transnational migrant organisations in Germany, Poland, Spain and Britain. In a first step, 30 important cross border migrant organisations in each country will be identified. In a second step, four organisations will be selected for each country that can be considered to be transnational migrant organisations (according to the project criteria). These organisations will then be analysed within the framework of an in-depth case study.

This project is coordinated by Professor Ludger Pries, Chair Sociology of Organisations and Participation, of the Ruhr University, Bochum. The British component is based at the IMI, and will be carried out by Professor Stephen Castles and Dr Thomas Lacroix. The project has a three-year time-span, and started in November 2007.

Participating research units:

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