IMISCOE distinguishes three types of research clusters: Standing Committees, Aspirant Standing Committees and Research Groups. The latter involve new research initiatives that focus on a very specific line of activity and a specific group of researchers geared to that. Due to current events in Europe and the increased attention on refugees, IMISCOE is happy to re-introduce the Research Group on Refugees in European localities: Reception, Perceptions and Policies.

Also see: Call for papers for a research panel on “Refugee reception: From uncertainty to innovation” during the IMISCOE Annual Conference in Prague (30 June – 2 July 2016).


  • Jeroen Doomernik (University of Amsterdam/IMES, Netherlands)
  • Birgit Glorius (Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany)


Since 2011, the refugee flows to Europe have greatly increased, putting European migration politics under pressure. There are steady and even growing refugee movements from Africa across the Mediterranean Sea and there is considerable displacement of people fleeing civil war and internal conflicts in the near East, especially from Syria. Meanwhile, the consequences of increasing refugee flows are largely felt at the local level, as municipal authorities throughout Europe receive growing contingents of refugees whom they have to accommodate. The challenge of administrative and practical management of the arrival process is intensified by the need to react to public concerns and xenophobic reactions caused by the visible presence of refugees in peoples’ local environment. Not least, these developments are a result of a common discursive strategy to divide migrants into desirable and deserving versus undesirable and undeserving refugees.

The research initiative “Refugees in European localities: Reception, Perceptions and Policies (RELOCAL)” focusses on the issue of refugee reception on the local level in EU member states. We are aiming to provide a systematic and comparative research on the process of arrival on the local level, including management strategies of the local administration, the development of public discourse in the locality, and on reflections of the reception situation from the migrants’ perspective. We are furthermore interested in the relationships, politically and otherwise, between local and other levels of governance. A series of comparatively undertaken locality and country studies will provide for profound insight in the differences of reception processes throughout countries and regions of the European Union.


  • Dalia Abdelhady (Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden)
  • Camilla Alberti (Centre for Migration Law at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland)
  • Inken Carstensen-Egwuom (University of Flensburg, Germany)
  • Milena Belloni (University of Trento, Italy)
  • Jonathan Darling (University of Manchester, UK)
  • Chiara Denaro (Sapienzia University of Rome, Italy)
  • Jeroen Doomernik (UvA/IMES, Netherlands)
  • Thomas Drage (University of Graz, Austria)
  • Maike Dymarz (former Wünnemann) (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)
  • Lukasz Dziedzic (Tilburg University, UK)
  • Benjamin Etzold (University of Bonn, Germany)
  • Veronika Flegar (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
  • Blanca Garces-Mascarenas (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Birgit Glorius (TUC, Germany)
  • Sophie Hinger (University of Osnabrueck, Germany)
  • Aslı Ikizoğlu (University of Minnesota, USA)
  • Holger Jahnke (University of Flensburg, Germany)
  • Sylvana Jahre (Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)
  • Lama Kabbanji (French Research Institute for Development, Paris, France)
  • Zeynep Kaşlı (University of Washington, Seattle, USA)
  • Elisabeth Kirtsoglou (Durham University, UK)
  • René Kreichauf (FU Berlin, Germany)
  • Lisa Li (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
  • Ljupka Mandic (University of Novi Sad, Serbia)
  • Sara Miellet (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)
  • Anna Mratschkowski (former: Gansbergen) (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)
  • Terézia Nagy (Southern Great Plains Region Social Research Association, Hungary)
  • Nevena Nancheva (University of Westminster, UK)
  • Gracy Pelacani (University of Trento, Italy)
  • David Petry (University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg)
  • Andreas Pott, (IMIS Osnabrueck, Germany)
  • Sieglinde Rosenberger (University of Vienna, Austria)
  • Philipp Schäfer (University of Konstanz, Germany)
  • Marie Louise Seeberg (Oslo University College, Norway)
  • Michela Semprebon (Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Italy)
  • Giulia Sinatti ( Free University Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Anton Steen (University of Oslo, Norway)
  • Östen Wahlbeck (University of Helsinki, Finland)
  • Franziska Werner (Bauhaus-University Weimar, Germany)
  • Verena Wisthaler (University of Leicester and European Adacemy of Bozen, UK/Italy)
  • Petra Wlasak (University of Graz, Austria)


Agenda of activities


Conference panel at the 11th IMISCOE Conference in Madrid “Refugees in European localities: Reception, Perceptions and Policies”

Research workshop TU Chemnitz, October 2014


Two Conference panels at the 12th IMISCOE Conference in Geneva: “Refugee Migration and Local Demarcations”


Book workshop at the University of Amsterdam March 2016, in preparation of the planned publication on “Reception of Asylum Seekers in Europe: National Policies and Local Practices”

13th IMISCOE Conference in Prague 2016: Conference panel on “Refugee reception: From uncertainty to innovation”; book workshop for continuation of conceptual discussions of the planned book publication; cluster meeting for continuing discussion on funding opportunities


Book Workshop, FU Berlin, March 2017, , in preparation of the planned publication on “Reception of Asylum Seekers in Europe: National Policies and Local Practices”

Conference panel “A Transatlantic Comparative View on Local Policies towards Migrants” during the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Boston, MA, April 5-9, 2017

14th IMISCOE conference in Rotterdam, June 2017: Conference Panels on ““Beyond Refugee Reception: A Multi-Level Perspective on Practices of Inclusion and Exclusion of Asylum-Seekers in Europe” and “Refugee Migration and Urban Studies – Theoretical Challenges and New Approaches”



  • Special edition Journal of Refugee Studies Volume 29 Issue 4 December 2016: “Refugee Migration and Local Demarcations: New Insight into European Localities” with the following contributions: J. Doomernik, B. Glorius: Editorial; S. Hinger, P. Schäfer, A. Pott: The Local Production of Asylum; A. Steen: Deciding Refugee Settlement in Norwegian Cities: Local Administration or Party Politics?; J. Darling: Asylum in Austere Times: Instability, Privatization and Experimentation within the UK Asylum Dispersal System; M. Belloni: Learning How to Squat: Cooperation and Conflict between Refugees and Natives in Rome; A. Ikizoglu Erensu, Z. Kasli: A Tale of Two Cities: Multiple Practices of Bordering and Degrees of ‘Transit’ in and through Turkey; N. Nancheva: Bulgaria’s Response to Refugee Migration: Institutionalizing the Boundary of Exclusion.
  • Research Proposal in the Framework of Horizon 2020 (ENG-GLOBALLY-10-2017): Evaluation of the Common European Asylum System under Pressure and Recommendations for Further Development (CEASEVAL), 02/2017 with participation of TUC (Lead Partner), UA, UNILUX, FIERI, US, ICMPD, CIDOB, TARKI, UH, ECRE, CERMES, MiReKoc
  • Numerous individual papers from members, among others: Glorius, B. (2017): Flüchtlingsaufnahme in Sachsen aus interkommunal vergleichender Perspektive. In: Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR) im Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (BBR) (Hrsg.): Regionale Implikationen der Zuwanderung aus dem Ausland in Deutschland. Dezembertagung der DGD-Arbeitskreise „Städte und Regionen“, „Migration, Integration, Minderheiten“ der DGD in Kooperation mit dem BBSR Bonn am 3. und 4. Dezember 2015 in Berlin. BBSR-Online-Publikation 04/2017, Bonn, März 2017, 44-54; Glorius, B. (2017): “Wir schaffen das”: A German perspective on refugees and bottom-up integration. In: F. Pastore (ed.), Beyond the Migration and Asylum Crisis. Options and lessons for Europe? (Aspen Italia Views), Rom: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 66-71.; Glorius, B. (2016): Flucht, Ankunft und wie weiter? Erste Einschätzungen zur regionalen Verteilung und Arbeitsmarktintegration von Flüchtlingen. In: Junkernheinrich, M. und J. Lange (eds.), Föderale Finanzbeziehungen unter Druck. Von der Flüchtlingspolitik bis zur Reform des Länderfinanzausgleichs. Loccumer Protokoll 14/16. Rehburg-Loccum: Evangelische Akademie Loccum, 11-32. Denaro, C. (2016a), “I rifugiati siriani sulle rotte via mare verso la Grecia. Riflessioni sullo svuotamento del diritto di asilo”, Mondi Migranti, Vol. 1, 97-119. Denaro, C. (2016b), “We have the right to choose where to live. Agency e produzione di materiale audio-visuale nei percorsi di fuga dalla Siria.”, Mondi Migranti, Vol. 2. Denaro, C. (2016c), “The reconfiguration of Mediterranean Migration Routes after the War in Syria: Narratives on the Egyptian Route to Italy and Beyond”, in Ribas-Mateos (eds.) Spaces of Refugee Flight: Migration and Mobilities after the Arab Spring in the Eastern Mediterranean. Edward Elgar Publishing: UK. Denaro, C. (2016d), “Agency, resistance and (forced) mobilities. The case of Syrian Refugees in Transit through Italy”, REMHU - Revista Interdisciplinar de Movilidade Humana, Brasilia, Ano XXIV, n. 47, p-77-96, mai/ago.2016. Denaro, C. (2016e), “Syrian Refugees’ Reception in Southern Europe: The Shifting Content of The Right to Asylum in Lesvos, Sicily and Melilla”, Refugee Watch , Issue no. 48, December 2016, 49-68. Mratschkowski, A. (Ed.) (2017): Asylum Related Organisations in Europe. Networks and Institutional Dynamics in the Context of a Common European Asylum System, Nomos-Verlag, Baden-Baden. Mratschkowski, A. (2017): Qualitative Research on the Role of Asylum-Related Organisations in the Context of the Common European Asylum System. In: Mratschkowski, A. (Ed.): Asylum Related Organisations in Europe. Networks and Institutional Dynamics in the Context of a Common European Asylum System, Nomos-Verlag, Baden-Baden, pp. 9 - 20. Mratschkowski, A. (2017): Asylum-Related Organisations and their Cooperation Partners in Selected European Countries. In: Mratschkowski, A. (Ed.): Asylum Related Organisations in Europe. Networks and Institutional Dynamics in the Context of a Common European Asylum System, Nomos-Verlag, Baden-Baden, pp. 259 - 270. Gansbergen, A./Breuckmann, T. (2017): Refugee Related Organisations in Greece and their Cooperation Networks in the Context of the European Asylum Regime. In: Athens Journal of Mediterranean Studies, vol. 3, issue 2, pp. 151 — 162. Gansbergen, A./ Breuckmann, T. (2016): Refugee Related Organisations and their Cooperation Networks in the Context of the European Asylum Regime, ATINER’s Conference Paper Series, Athens. Gansbergen, A./Pries, L. (2016): Zwischen ‚Festung Europa‘ und ‚Raum der Freiheit, der Sicherheit und des Rechts‘: NGO-Netzwerke in der Institutionalisierung eines europäischen Flüchtlingsregimes. In: Lessenich, S. (Hg.), Routinen der Krise - Krise der Routinen. Verhandlungen des 37. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Trier 2014. Gansbergen, A./ Pries, L./ Witkowski, J. (Hrsg.) (2016): Versunken im Mittelmeer? Flüchtlingsorganisationen im Mittelmeerraum und das Europäische Asylsystem, transcript-Verlag, Bielefeld. Gansbergen, A./ Witkowski, J. (2016): Asyl und Flucht in Italien, Spanien, Malta, Griechenland und Zypern. In: Gansbergen, A./ Pries, L./ Witkowski, J. (Hrsg.): Versunken im Mittelmeer? Flüchtlingsorganizationen im Mittelmeerraum und das Europäische Asylsystem, transcript-Verlag, Bielefeld, pp. 177 - 186. Dymarz, M.; Wallraff, M. 2016: Kommunale Integrationspolitik: Den Dialog suchen [Municipal integration policy: looking for dialogue processes]. In: Der gemeinderat, 09/16: 8-9. Wallraff, M.; Wünnemann, M. 2016: Integration: Eine Chance für die Stadtentwicklung [Integration politics: an opportunity for urban development]. In: Der gemeinderat 04/16: 37-39. Dymarz, M., Hanhörster, H.; Hans, N., Wallraff, M., Zimmer-Hegmann, R. 2016: Gelingende Integration im Quartier (Abschlussbericht). [Successful integration politics in neighborhoods (final report)].ILS – Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung (ed.). Dortmund.

In Preparation

  • Book Publication: “How have states responded to the 2015 refugee “crisis” and why?”