MERGE is a collaborative research network, bringing together scholars in migration studies and other knowledge-holders with a focus on the Middle East to provide a comprehensive understanding of the regimes of mobility in the region. It is based at the Berlin Institute for Empirical Research on Integration and Migration (BIM) at Humboldt University, Berlin.
The cross-border flows of migrants, particularly across the Middle East, have recently been a signifier of the urgency for a transnational approach in social sciences. Indeed, many countries in the region, such as Lebanon, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, have undergone multidirectional migration patterns across different geographies including East Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. Therefore, a nascent scholarship has emerged to espouse a transnational perspective to analyze social, economic and cultural facets of major developments beyond the state-centric logic of territoriality.
However, a great deal of scholarship still appears to portray the Middle East region merely as a “migration sending” heartland, mostly in the direction of Europe and thus overlook the broader picture. We rather adopt a multidimensional and multidisciplinary approach, seeing societies as dynamic and fluid communities.
Against this background, MERGE aspires to harness the power of collective thinking to expand the scope of conventional approaches and explore the burgeoning dynamics of mobility within the Middle East.