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

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | BIM | Research Projects | TRANSMIT – Transnational Perspectives on Migration and Integration

TRANSMIT – Transnational Perspectives on Migration and Integration

Duration: January 2020 - December 2024; Departments: Economic migration and integration research ; Integration research and social policy

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Background


 

Knowledge about the socio-economic integration of migrants in Germany is growing steadily. However, migration itself is mostly studied retrospectively, i.e. after the actual migration process has been completed. It is rarely considered in the context of individual biographies and the social, cultural and political contexts that shape migration even before arrival in the destination country.

Research on the realities of migrants' lives in countries of origin and transit, in turn, often neglects the subsequent processes of migration and integration. As a result, little is known to scholars about how complex processes such as migration decision-making, experiences during migration, and dynamics of integration interact with each other. The main reason for this research gap is a lack of adequate data to systematically compare individuals in origin, destination and transit countries and to trace individual migration experiences.


Goal



Within the DeZIM Forschungsgemscheinschaft (DeZIMFG), the TRANSMIT project aims to close this gap by building a long-term data infrastructure. This structure includes and links both qualitative and quantitative data from origin, destination and transit countries and thus enables research on integration and migration processes over time (longitudinal) and across national borders (transnational).


Focus


 

Geographically, TRANSMIT focuses on two regions that are particularly relevant as countries of origin and transit for migration to Europe and Germany: West Africa (data from Senegal, Gambia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Germany) and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA, data from Lebanon, Turkey, and Germany). The data collections include (potential) migrants before, during and after their individual migration episodes, as well as the non-migrating population and relevant actor groups from politics and society. Thus, individual and family dynamics as well as region-specific characteristics and political developments are included in the analysis.


Selected research questions


The research within the TRANSMIT research network is structured along three central themes:

1) (Self)selection effects along migration routes.

2) Dynamics of social cohesion and social negotiation processes

3) Realities of life and well-being of (potential) migrants.

By working on the three topics together, complex interrelationships can be identified and investigated. Exemplary for this are the following questions:

  • What dynamics and framework conditions interact to make some people migrate or want to migrate, while others do not under similar socioeconomic circumstances?
  • How is the selectivity of migration desires and opportunities related to integration processes and social cohesion?
  • What is the role of racism and experiences of discrimination among different population groups, how pronounced are these experiences in our study contexts, and what transnational connections can be identified?
  • Which factors play a role for participation opportunities and integration trajectories in different transnational family constellations?
  • Which groups/cohorts can be identified for which systematic differences can be identified (e.g. single mothers, different forms of employment or young people who are socially engaged)?
  • Which intersectional forms of disadvantages, constraints to action and needs for support can be derived from this?


Methodology


 

Both quantitative (large-scale face-to-face and online surveys) and qualitative approaches (semi-structured, in-depth or problem-centered interviews among migrants, returnees and activists as well as document analysis) will be used along the migration routes mentioned.

Existing data such as the IAB-BAMF-SOEP survey of refugees in Germany will also be used to develop and test hypotheses. Linking these diverse data sources makes it possible to relate the individual experience of respondents*, their family backgrounds and social networks to migration processes and integration dynamics.

In parallel to the development and expansion of the constantly growing data infrastructure, the data collected within TRANSMIT will be analyzed from a multidisciplinary perspective. The goal is to produce highly innovative scientific publications and to provide relevant information to societal and political decision makers.

The research within the project also serves to gain methodological insights that support the further development of transnational data infrastructures, both within TRANSMIT and beyond.

 


Next steps

 

Under the name ExiTT ("Exit - Transit - Transformation"), a pilot phase for the TRANSMIT project was carried out in 2018/2019. During this pilot phase, both quantitative and qualitative data were collected in Senegal, Gambia, Lebanon and Germany.

Building on this foundation, further quantitative (longitudinal) surveys were conducted in Lebanon, Turkey, Nigeria, The Gambia, and Senegal between 2020 and 2022 as part of TRANSMIT. In addition, qualitative interviews were conducted with migrants in Germany, Turkey, Italy, Morocco, Gambia, and Senegal.

The collection of quantitative data at the national level is additionally enriched by topic-specific modules. Examples include online surveys on the occasion of the protests in Lebanon in October 2019, on psychological stress in Lebanon in 2021, and a survey of a large number of potential migrants in a migration hub in The Gambia in 2019. A representative survey of West African migrants in Germany, the first of its kind in Germany, will be launched in 2022.


Research on BIM


Within TRANSMIT, the team at BIM is primarily engaged in data collection and research in the MENA region. A central focus is the role of the local political and cultural context for the scientific understanding of migration dynamics. Exemplary of this research focus is the project work in Lebanon, where data collection took place during a time of unanticipated political and economic crises. The data collected in TRANSMIT allows researchers at BIM to closely follow events such as the October protests, the Beirut port explosion, and the Lebanese financial crisis, and to trace how they affect the well-being of the local Lebanese and Syrian populations, and their desire and ability to emigrate (see report).

A unique feature of this contextual research at BIM is the integration of methods from clinical and social psychology, which takes place in collaboration with Berlin's Charité. These methods provide insights into the physical and psychological stress of different population groups and how these stresses are related to migration experiences, aspirations and overall societal developments.


Network partners

 


Project management


 

  • Prof. Dr. Herbert Brücker (IAB)
  • Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan (BIM)
  • Prof. Dr. Frank Kalter (MZES)
  • Prof. Dr. Ruud Koopmans (WZB)
  • Prof. Dr. Helen Schwenken (IMIS)


Project team members


 

  • Judith Altrogge (IMIS)
  • Tamara Bogatzki (WZB)
  • Lidwina Gundacker (IAB)
  • Dr. Ulrike Kluge (Charité)
  • Judith Köhler (BIM)
  • Dr. Irene Pañeda Fernández (WZB, Forschungskoordination)
  • Simon Ruhnke (BIM, Forschungskoordination)
  • Dr. Hamza Safouane (IMIS)
  • Julia Stier (WZB)
  • Dr. Nader Talebi (BIM)
  • Daniel Tuki (WZB)
  • Associate Member: Salam Alhaj Hasan


Former Members


 

  • Dr. Daniel Auer (WZB)
  • Dr. Julia Kleinewiese (MZES)
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Pott (IMIS)
  • Dr. Max Schaub (WZB)
  • Dr. Ramona Rischke (BIM)




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