In the spotlight

Do you know your Standing Committees?

29 June 2023

IMISCOE provides a platform for scholars throughout the world to get together, initiate comparative research and organize joint research projects. The network supports and maintains a broad range of Standing Committees that cover significant topics in migration studies, in line with the special expertise of its members. The development of common lines of study is primarily research-driven. IMISCOE derives its relevance for society in general and for policy and politics in particular from its theory-based, analytical contributions.

How well do you know what they do? Are you curious about what different strands of research are supported by IMISCOE? We have them here summarised for you!

1. Education and Social Inequality

The Standing Committee Education and Social Inequality aims at stimulating international comparative research on the intersections between education, (international) mobility and social inequality. It combines the research interests and experiences of two previous research clusters: the Standing Committee on Education & Social Mobility and the Research Group on International Student Mobility and Migration. The merger of these two clusters reflects the ongoing central importance of the field of education for understanding international migration patterns as well as experiences and outcomes in host country contexts. Furthermore, it is through education that social inequalities are sustained, increased, or abolished. This is why this Standing Committee also specifically focuses on “social inequality”.

The intersections between education, (international) mobility and social inequality provide an ideal starting point to combine wider social theoretical work with empirical data collections and analyses. They aim to advance critical theoretical discussions on topics of social inequalities in education, education-to-work transitions as well as international mobility and education. Moreover, they seek to strengthen the topics of discrimination and racism in education and particularly invite researchers working on these topics to contribute to the SC’s activities

More information here:

2. Gender and Sexuality in Migration Research

GenSeM wants to create an infrastructure that can give voice and visibility to the needs of academics focusing in these areas of gender, sexuality and migration; support relevant publications; promote communication among specialists; and organise expert meetings.

GenSeM has now a very active research community. They hold a regular Migration Dialogue Seminar series (Online), featuring leading scholars in the field discussing their recent work and publications. Moreover, their PhD/ECR researchers have organised online writing retreats and workshops that have forged a strong , dynamic and international group.

More information here:

3. Immigration, Immigrants and Labour Markets in Europe

The core focus of the IILME Standing Committee are the links between increasing migration, labour market dynamics and access to welfare resources. These are central to the discourse on both immigration and integration policies of newly arrived migrants and their children.

Building up on the work carried out within the previous IITUE research group (Immigration, Integration and Trade Unions in Europe), IILME aims at exploring the complexities and contradictions of the interaction between migration phenomena and the labour market in a time of rapidly changing migration, integration and labour market policies. The originality of the program lies in its theoretical framework. They seek to combine the tradition of industrial relations, political economy — especially research on segmented labour market(s) — and gender studies to explore multiple intersectional inequalities as well as the precarization of migrant and ethnic workers within labour markets.

More information here:

4. Methodological Approaches and Tools in Migration Research (Meth@Mig)

The Standing Committee Meth@Mig provides a forum for discussing methodological approaches and tools in migration research and assessing the best options available for tackling manifold methodological challenges. The Standing Committee takes on a pluralist perspective as it addresses (1) issues relevant across a wide range of research methods in migration studies, such as obtaining informed consent in cross-cultural settings, gaining access to hard-to-reach populations, operationalising relevant concepts, and leveraging the potential of new communication technologies, as well as (2) issues relevant for specific research approaches (be they quantitative, qualitative, mixed-methods or experimental) as applied to the study of international migration in all its facets and dimensions.

Due to its transversal methodological profile, Meth@Mig is uniquely suited to cooperate with various other IMISCOE Standing Committees that are mainly defined by substantive research agendas. The Standing Committee aims to become a reference-point for methodological reflections in the migration research community within and beyond IMISCOE.

More information here:

5. Migrant Transnationalism

The objective of the Standing Committee on Migrant Transnationalism (MITRA) is to provide an arena within IMISCOE for academic exchange on migrant transnationalism. The transnational turn was an innovation in migration studies and offered a new perspective for overcoming the limitations of methodological nationalism. It has provided new insights into integration issues, the functioning of diasporas, political movements, economic and social remittances and methodological strategies for multi-sited research. It has also questioned the very notion of migration.

The Standing Committee on Migrant Transnationalism is not focused on a certain migrant category (for example in terms of gender or age), nor is it focused on certain institutional spheres (such as the labour market, politics or culture). It is also not specifically aimed at governance structures and policy strategies.

More information here:

6. Migration, Citizenship and Political Participation

The Migration, Citizenship and Political Participation Standing Committee (MIGCITPOL) offers a unique forum to researchers working in the fields of migrants’ access to citizenship and political participation in sending and receiving societies.

MIGCITPOL’s core mission is to compare how citizenship status and rights are legally regulated and explore how the resulting institutional opportunity structure influences migrants’ access to naturalization and their political participation in home and host countries. Their SC thus combines a top-down analytical approach aiming to understand how underlying regulations regarding naturalization and enfranchisement evolve over time and across countries with a bottom-up focus on migrants’ practices of engagement in electoral and non-electoral mobilisations aiming at influencing the political decision-making process.

Their approach is comparative and aims to cover all regions of the world affected by international migration. It is also transnational, paying symmetric attention to immigrants and emigrants, and to the institutional context in origin and receiving countries. Finally, it is multilevel because we encourage out members to look beyond the nation-state as the sole provider of citizenship and political participation rights.

More information here:

7. Migration Politics and Governance

The Migration Politics and Governance (MigPoG) Standing Committee takes a broad and comprehensive approach to the study of migration policy, one which aims at promoting dialogue between scholars focusing on the politics and governance of migration. MigPoG starts from the assumption that in a context of increasing politicisation of migration, governance and politics should be thematised as the two facets of the same coin. The SC has the ambition of covering migration policy in a broad sense, including immigration, emigration, border control, integration, asylum seekers and refugees etc.

From a geographical point of view, MigPoG intends to contribute to the overcoming of the national-government and receiving country-centred bias of much research on migration policy, which is still highly characterised by a Eurocentric (or more broadly West-centric) approach. From a disciplinary perspective, the SC aims at catalysing scholars working on migration policy from different approaches, reflecting an understanding of policy as the product of the interaction between multiple actors. MigPoG will also include different methodological approaches to the study of migration politics and governance, and more specifically both quantitative and qualitative methods.

More information here:

8. Older Migrants

The Ageing Migrants Research initiative began in 2010, focusing on a previously understudied topic. Over the years, it has grown into a Standing Committee (SC) with active members from diverse disciplines. The SC has been highly engaged in organising scientific events, research workshops in the annual IMISCOE conferences and publishing.

The SC objectives are to: Place the study of older migrants more at the center of migration research by bridging with central concepts such as transnationalism, mobility, migration policies, integration, among others; advance theoretically this area of research. Scholars have pointed to a lack of theoretization in this area; contribute to the training of PhD students and develop collaborative projects and apply for funding.

More information here:

9. Reflexivities in Migration Studies

The aim of this standing committee is to push forward a reflexive (and self-reflexive) perspective within migration studies. Given the growth, relevance and responsibility of migration studies, they strive to promote reflexivity in our research and to investigate on how the field of migration studies has emerged. Being reflexive in these two senses involves investigating how knowledge on migration is produced, circulated and utilized – both by us as researchers as well by other actors in the field.

This endeavour tackles the embeddedness of the field of migration studies in wider societal and power relations and the risk to reproduce hegemonic structures. Hence, studying knowledge production cannot be separated from studying eurocentrism, racism, situated positions of researchers, or contested public debates on “truth” or “fake-news”. Studying knowledge circulation requires examining patterns of knowledge utilization in policy, politics, or state institutions. Equally important is to analyse the transfer of migration-related knowledge produced by other actors, like mass media, so-called migrants themselves, civil society actors, international organizations, or social science disciplines.

For migration studies as field of research, becoming reflexive changes its positionality. The reflexive approach that we pursue emphasizes the boundedness of knowledge about migration to specific epistemological, methodological and political modes of knowledge production. The awareness that modes of conceiving and researching migration are inevitably historical and theoretically contingent shall feed back into the ways of how knowledge is produced. Consequently, the objectives of this SC are to: promote reflexivity amongst migration scholars; provide a platform for research on knowledge production, circulation and utilization in migration studies; address the risk of migration studies of reproducing hegemonic structures and problem definitions and develop alternatives in theory, empirical research and science-society dialogues.

More information here:

10. Superdiversity, Migration and Cultural Change

DIVCULT aims to better understand the relevance of arts and culture in the theoretical and policy debates about immigrant incorporation and diversity in Europe and beyond. Over the last years, artistic activities have found increasing interest among migration researchers because they prove to be a means of moving beyond ethnic differences towards narratives of identity and belonging that are more apt to capture the current post-migrant reality in many cities and countries.

They intend to cover a wide range of artistic and cultural activities in our analyses ranging from music, literature, cinema and theatre to sports, fashion, clothing, design and food. Their idea is to jointly work on the following dimensions: theoretical and conceptual issues; methodologies and relevance and social impact.

DIVCULT builds on previous work carried out in the IMISCOE Standing Committee on Popular Art, Diversity and Cultural Policies in Post-Migration Urban Settings (POPADIVCIT) founded in 2010. POPADIVCIT focussed on the political and institutional framework of immigrant artistic activities, the social relations between all actors involved as well as on their impact in particular in terms of political participation and mobilisation.

More information here:

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