Projects

TRANSMIT: Transnational Perspectives on Migration and Integration

TRANSMIT is a collaborative project funded by the Feder Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ)

Participating collaborative partners:

Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM), in cooperation with Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Charité)
Institute for Employment Research (IAB)
Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS)
Mannheim Center for European Social Research (MZES)
Berlin Social Science Center (WZB, network coordination)

Background

Insights into migrants’ socioeconomic integration in Germany is expanding. Yet, migration is mainly investigated retrospectively, that is, after the migration process. Rarely is it linked with pre-migration biographies and with the social, cultural and political contexts that shape migration before the arrival in the host society. Research investigating life realities of migrants in origin and transit countries, in turn, neglect the subsequent processes of continued migration and integration. As a consequence, there is very little scientific knowledge regarding the complex, transnational interdependencies of migration decisions, migration processes and dynamics of integration. The main reason for this research gap lies in the lack of available data that allows for systematic comparisons of individuals in host, transit and origin countries, and is able to follow individual migration trajectories.

Aim

The TRANSMIT project within the DeZIM research community aims to fill this gap by building a long-term oriented data infrastructure. This structure collects and systematically links quantitative and qualitative data in origin, transit and destination countries and enables investigations into migration and integration processes across borders (transnational) and over time (longitudinal).

Focus

Geographically, TRANSMIT focuses on two regions of origin and transit that are particularly relevant for migration towards Europe and Germany today: West Africa (data from: Senegal, The Gambia, Morocco,  Nigeria, and Germany) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (data from: Lebanon, Turkey, and Germany). The data collection involves (potential) migrants before, during, and after individual migration episodes, as well as non-migrant populations and relevant actors from politics and civil society. Thus, individual and family dynamics, region-specific characteristics, and political processes are taken into account.

Selected Research Questions

Why do some people migrate while others in similar socio-economic circumstances do not? 
What factors influence the socio-economic and demographic composition of migrant groups and how does this selectivity affect integration processes?
How are (changing) family structures interacting with migration and integration processes and what are the specifics of women’s experiences?
How do transnational social networks (e.g. family, friends) and the circulation of information and knowledge influence migration processes and integration experiences?
How are these processes shaped by migration cultures, narratives and images of destination regions and how do they interact with each other?

Methodology

Both quantitative approaches (large-scale face-to-face and online surveys) and qualitative approaches (semi-structured, in-depth or problem-centred interviews among migrants, returnees and activists, as well as document analyses) are employed along migration routes. Existing data such as the IAB-BAMF-SOEP survey of refugees in Germany is also used to inform and test hypotheses. The connection of these diverse data sources allow for the study of linkages between respondents’ individual experiences, family backgrounds and transnational networks, with migration processes and integration dynamics.

In parallel to the establishment of a growing data infrastructure, data gathered in TRANSMIT is continuously being analyzed through multidisciplinary perspectives.  The goal is to produce highly innovative academic publications and provide relevant evidence to inform public discourse and policy making. Research within the project also produces methodological insights that guide the expansion of transnational data infrastructures within TRANSMIT and beyond.

Research at BIM

Within TRANSMIT, the team at BIM is primarily focused on data collection and research in the MENA region. A central emphasis of this work is the role of the local political and cultural context when studying migration dynamics. Exemplary for this emphasis is the research conducted in Lebanon, where data collection has coincided with a period of unprecedented political and economic upheaval such as the October Uprising, the Beirut port explosion and the Lebanese financial crisis. The data collected in TRANSMIT allows researchers at BIM to closely follow these developments and investigate their impact on the local Lebanese and Syrian populations and their desire and ability to migrate (see this presentation for details).

A unique feature of this contextual research at BIM is the integration of methods from clinical and social psychology in cooperation with the Charité. These methods enable investigations into the mental and physical health burden of migrant and host populations and how those burdens interact with migration experiences and aspirations at the individual and socio-political developments at the societal level.

Current status

A pilot phase of TRANSMIT was conducted in 2018/2019 under the name "ExiTT (Exit - Transit - Transformation"). During the pilot phase, quantitative and qualitative data were successfully collected in Senegal and the Gambia, as well as in Lebanon and Germany.

 TRANSMIT has built on this foundation by conducting further quantitative (longitudinal) surveys in Lebanon (panel, wave 2) and Turkey (panel, baseline) in 2020/21, Nigeria (baseline) and the Gambia (panel, wave 2) in 2021. In 2020, qualitative data was collected in Germany on the topics of West African migrant organizations and on transnational dynamics of inter-migrant racism among Middle Eastern Migrants in both Germany and Turkey. Nation-wide quantitative survey data collection is further enriched through topic-specific modules such as online surveys concerning the Lebanese October Uprising in 2019, psychological suffering in Lebanon in 2021, and a large-scale survey in a central Gambian migration hub in 2019.

Preliminary results have been presented within the DeZIM-FG and at international conferences such as the 3rd conference of the Netzwerk Fluchtforschung in September (2020) and the 18th IMISCOE Annual Conference (2021). For a list of the most recent publications generated as part of TRANSMIT  (as of May 2021) please see below.

Next Steps

Further longitudinal surveys are planned in Turkey, Lebanon, Nigeria, Senegal and the Gambia. Quantitative and qualitative fieldwork is also planned in Germany in 2022. Qualitative data collection, which will focus on Senegal and The Gambia, will be complemented by surveys in Morocco to better understand the situation and decision-making of West African migrants in transit towards Europe. The timing and feasibility of current plans is influenced by recent developments related to COVID-19. The pandemic’s impact on local populations and migration dynamics has also emerged as a subject of investigation within TRANSMIT.

Publications

  • Talebi, N. (2021) Die Unsicherheit ist Teil des Leids. Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung. Link
  • Rischke, R. & Talebi, N. (2021). Lebanon at a Critical Conjuncture: Perspectives of Syrians and Lebanese in Lebanon 2019-2021, SSRN Research Network. Link
  • Brücker, H., Gundacker, L., Hauptman, A., Jaschke, P., (2021). Arbeitsmarktwirkungen der COVID-19-Pandemie: Stabile Beschäftigung, aber steigende Arbeitslosigkeit von Migrantinnen und Migranten. IAB-Kurzbericht 09/2021. Link
  • Taraf, N. (2021), Big Five Inventory Questionnaire, Arabic Translation. GESIS Erhebungsinstrumente. Link
  • Altrogge, J. & Auer, D. (2020). Zurück ins Herkunftsland? Warum eine „geringe Bleibeperspektive“ für Asylsuchende aus Gambia kein Grund zur Rückkehr ist. DeZIMinutes Nr. 2. Link
  • Bogatzki, T. & Stier, J. (2020). Unerfüllte Wünsche. Für Frauen aus Gambia und dem Senegal ist Auswandern schwieriger als für Männer. WZB-Mitteilungen. Link
  • Stier. J. (2020). Senegalesische Corona-Songs als Sensibilisierungs- und Informationsquelle für wolofsprachige Geflüchtete und Migrant*innen. Zeitschrift für Flucht- und Flüchtlingsforschung. Link
  • Tuki, D. (2020). Brandbeschleuniger: Die Corona-Pandemie verschärft Nigerias soziale und ökonomische Probleme. WZB-Mitteilungen. Link

Principal Investigators:
Prof. Dr. Herbert Brücker (IAB)
Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan (BIM)
Prof. Dr. Frank Kalter (MZES)
Prof. Dr. Ruud Koopmans (WZB)
Prof. Dr. Andreas Pott (IMIS)
Prof. Dr. Helen Schwenken (IMIS)

Persons

Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan

Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan

Director, Head of the Department "Integration Research and Social Policy"

Fon: +49 (0)30 2093-46255
bim.direktorium@hu-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Herbert Brücker

Prof. Dr. Herbert Brücker

Director, Head of the Department "Economic Migration and Integration research"

Fon: +49 (0)30 2093-46255
herbert.bruecker@hu-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Andreas Heinz

Prof. Dr. med. Dr. phil. Andreas Heinz

Head of the Department "Migration, Mental and Physical Health and Health Research"; Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Charité University Clinic Berlin

Fon: +49 (0)30 45051-7002
Fax: +49 (0)30 45051-7921
andreas.heinz@charite.de

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Kluge

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Kluge

Member of the Department "Migration, Mental and Physical Health and Health Research"; Professor for psychological and medical integration & migration research at the Charité University Medicine Berlin

Fon: +49 (0)30 45051-7113
ulrike.kluge@charite.de

Dr. Ramona Rischke

Dr. Ramona Rischke

Research Associate, Head of Junior Research Group, Project ExiTT

Judith Köhler

Judith Köhler

Research Associate

Fon: +49 30 2093 46262
judith.koehler@hu-berlin.de

Dr. Nader Talebi

Dr. Nader Talebi

Researcher and Guest Lecturer at the department "Integration research and social policy"

Fon: +49 (0)30 2093-46262
Talebina@hu-berlin.de

Simon Ruhnke

Simon Ruhnke

Research Fellow in the Project TRANSMIT