Norms and Values in Migration and Integration

Questions of norms and values have become increasingly more salient over the last decade in political, and increasingly also a wide area of public debates. While academic scholarship on legal norms and obligations with regard to refugee and migrant admission as well as the distribution of migrants and the rights and obligations of state vis-à-vis migrants is prolific, in many other aspects of migration scholarship discussions on norms and values are only just emerging. Many disciplines of the social sciences and humanities use norms and values conceptually, but often fail to clearly specify the meaning of these terms. Especially value as a term and concept is multifaceted and complex and can encompass many different conceptions. This makes the term appear versatile, but its analytical broadness makes it diffuse and eventually renders the concept with weak explanatory power. 

The agenda of this RI is twofold. On the one hand, we aim to create an interdisciplinary understanding of the concepts of norms and values and, on the other, we strive to make visible the benefits and potential pitfalls of studying migration aspects through a value framework. A more specific and interdisciplinary focus on what norms and values mean for migration processes, and vice versa, sheds light on ways in which migration connects and challenges political, cultural, and social practices on local and global scales. Furthermore, such a focus also provides the conceptual tools with which to debate and scrutinize how migration studies in themselves, for better or for worse,  take part in these changes and contribute to how migration and integration politics is shaped across the world.

Names of coordinators

Brigitte Suter

MIM, Malmö University

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Ingrid Jerve Ramsøy

MIM, Malmö University

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Agenda of activities

The main goal of the initiative is thus to further collaboration between scholars working in this field and establish its relevance to the field of Migration Studies (and current public debates on migration). Concretely, we organize workshops – for example at Malmö University and the annual IMISCOE conferences – with the aim to facilitate interdisciplinary discussions on the topic among scholars, both early career and more experienced researchers. We have also started a research network with international scholars from different disciplines and levels of seniority. We collaborate with the Horizon2020 project “Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis” (NoVaMigra –, 2018-21). One of the main objectives of the project is to examine if and in what way the large-scale arrival of asylum seekers in 2015 have transformed so-called European values.

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During 2020, the RI has successfully organised two events. In May we held a (digital) workshop on “Value Transformation, Value Transmission and Value Circulation”, featuring 11 presentations by international scholars, followed by a panel discussion ( pdf Malmö Workshop on Norms and Values in Migration and Integration (169 KB) ). The workshop was organised by the Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM). We also gathered at the annual (online) IMISCOE conference with a panel and five presentations.

2021 will be equally busy: In April IMISCOE PhD candidates will organise a second digital workshop on “Norms and Values in Institutions, Societies and Migration”. Our rationale is to provide PhD students across the globe with an opportunity to discuss their work with an academic audience in order to share and develop understanding of the role of norms and values in the social sciences. Panels can be both empirical and/or theoretical in nature. The workshop is organized by MIM and the NoVaMigra project, in collaboration with the research schools of Global Politics and International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER) at Malmö University. The RI will also be present with a panel at the annual IMISCOE conference in Luxembourg.

Further, the research network on norms and values in migration established through the RI is planning for several joint publications.


Names and institutional affiliations of (key) members

Ingrid Jerve Ramsøy

Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM), Malmö University, Sweden

Beint Magnus Aamodt Bentsen

Sayaka Osanami Törngren

Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare, Sweden

Amanda da Silva

Olaf J. Kleist

Barbara Beznec

Sofia Ulver

Carolin Fischer

Louise Hombert

Institut Convergences Migrations, France

Bi Puranen

Christian Welzel


Stefan Manser-Egli

University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland


Amanda Lubit


Przemysław Bednarz


Manfred Zentner


Armanc Yildiz


Therese Herrmann

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany


CfA: IMISCOE PhD lead online workshop on Norms and Values

Deadline: 25.01.2021
This is a call for abstracts to the 2021 PhD Lead Workshop on Norms and Values, organized by the Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM), held online via Zoom on April 28th-29th. The workshops are led by PhD students, but...

Workshop on Value Transformation, Value Transmission and Value Circulation in Migration and Integration, 18-19 May, Malmö University

19 May 2020
The NOVAMI group held a two-day workshop on norms and values in migration studies. Up to 20 international experts on migration, including PhD candidates, presented and discussed the themes of value transformation, value transmission and value...