A Cross-border Perspective on Migration: Beyond the Assimilation/Transnationalism Debate

06.09.2016 at 16:00

The transnational perspective emerged in the early 1990s as an alternative to assimilation theory, gaining instant and wide influence. But curiously, the intellectual confrontation between these two perspectives was averted, as scholars concluded that persistent homeland engagement was fully compatible with hostland integration. This lecture seeks to pick up that challenge. Roger Waldinger demonstrates how a cross-border perspective, encompassing places of origin and destination and the flows of people, ideas, and resources between them, highlights the ways in which population movements from one nation-state to another generates tensions at both sides of the chain.

In the process, he will show how looking across borders paradoxically demonstrates the importance of the territorial boundary, as it simultaneously underscores the importance of dissimilation – the social and political separation of immigrants from the people they have left behind – yet also the ways in which alien status and alien origins at once impede immigrant acceptance by the people among whom they have settled down and provide opportunities for sending states to reconnect with nationals abroad.

With Roger Waldinger, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UCLA

Chair: Marc Helbling (University of Bamberg/ WZB)

Discussants: Adrian Favell (University of Leeds) and Gökce Yurdakul (Humboldt University of Berlin/Berlin Institute of Migration Research)

This keynote lecture is kindly hosted by the research unit "Migration, Integration, Transnationalization" at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center in the framework of the international workshop "Migrants, Refugees and Global Justice: Comparative Perspectives in Societies of Migration", organized by the Berlin Institute of Migration Research (BIM) at the Humboldt University Berlin and the Department of Diversity and Social Conflict.


WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Room A300

(Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin)