Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | BIM | Departments | Integration Research and Social Policy

Integration Research and Social Policy



Heterogeneous migration societies

The focus is on sociopolitical developments in heterogeneous migration societies. The change of social structures, demographic development and the change of traditional structures of values and norms as well as identitary points of reference pose great challenges to migration societies.

Since individual immigration societies face the upcoming challenges in different ways, divergent strategies for dealing with them have emerged in many countries. These will be examined with reference to German social policy.

Social policy as an analytical category

Social policy is understood here as an analytical category encompassing various measures taken by different social actors aimed at achieving a society organized according to certain values and norms and a specific order. Social policy can therefore be analyzed in the dimensions of policies and structures, knowledge practices, values and norms, or discourses.

Socio-political debates about CERN identities - here meant as cultural, ethnic, religious and national identities - influence both integration research and integration policy and are thus also researched on an international comparative basis. Here, the concept of hybridity is built upon as a research and teaching base.

Postmigrant constellations

One focus of the department is the examination of the change in the concept of integration in integration research in Germany: While academia and politics in the integration discourse for decades focused primarily on migrants, a paradigm shift can increasingly be observed in both fields, which, beyond this target group, focuses on the migration society as a changing overall societal system, in which migrants and their descendants represent only one sub-element of many.

In view of this development, post-migrant constellations, perspectives and social concepts - i.e. beyond the focus on migrants - are to be the focus of research, with the following thematic areas playing an essential role: post-migrant alliance formation, recognition and devaluation dynamics, religion (Islam and Muslims), minorities and identities.

A central goal of the department is postmigrant theory formation: Previous substantive work in the thematic field of hybridity and cultural, ethnic, religious, and national narratives (HEYMAT and JUNITED) resulted in a new theoretical field, namely the topic of postmigrant society.

Shaping society after immigration has taken place

However, postmigrant does not stand for a process of completed migration, but for an analytical perspective that deals with the conflicts, identity formation processes, and social and political transformations that begin after migration has taken place and that examine the immigration society beyond migrants on the basis of an attitude and position toward heterogeneity and ambiguity. Postmigrant thus focuses on the shaping of society after immigration has taken place.

Research objects

Research objects are scientific practice (fields of knowledge, research designs, scientific knowledge productions), political actors and structures (policies, programs, political processes), civil society actors and structures (NGOs, MSOs, activists, hybrid life practices) and media actors and structures (media discourses and debates, media representations).

Related links

A detailed collection of links on the areas of investigation Islam, Muslims, Islamophobia in Germany can be found here:

Information on the broader topic of integration and migration:


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