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


Since 2011 until 2015, the refugee flows to Europe have greatly increased, putting European migration politics under pressure. 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 standing committee “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.


Our standing committee has over 40 individual members from all over Europe and third countries, representing all academic disciplines which are relevant for gaining multidisciplinary insight into the issue of refugee migration and integration and the development of discourses and policies.

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


  • 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
  • Conference panels at the 14th IMISCOE conference in Rotterdam, June 2017


  • Two conference panels at the 15th IMISCOE conference in Barcelona, July 2018

Output/Research Grants

  • Special edition Journal of Refugee Studies Volume 29, Issue 4 December2016: “Refugee Migration and Local Demarcations: New Insight into European Localities”
  • Book Publication: “Geographies of Asylum in Europe and the Role of European Localities (in preparation, due early 2019)
  • Research Project: Evaluation of the Common European Asylum System under Pressure and Recommendations for Further Development ( (funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 770037)