Migration, Integration, Transnationalization
The research programme of the Department focuses on four dimensions of migration and integration. On the cultural dimension, migration raises the questions of national identity, and – particularly under the influence of Muslim immigration – of state-church relationships. On the social dimension, the roles of social capital and of civil society organizations for the integration of immigrants are at stake. Politically, immigration has brought the category of citizenship again to the centre of attention. Economically, finally, post-war migration to Europe has been a unique experiment of mass immigration in the context of developed welfare states. Whether immigration countries can remain welfare states is an as yet unresolved existential question for European societies.
Although European countries have been confronted with comparable immigration flows and integration problems, they have often dealt with them in widely divergent ways. This is because migration and integration touch upon core elements of the self-understanding of nation-states, including notions of national identity, the criteria for access to citizenship, and the relationship between church and state. As a consequence, immigration and integration policies of countries such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom, or the Netherlands have been shaped by national political-cultural traditions and national political institutions. The field of migration and integration politics is hence a key example of the more general finding that globalization and transnationalization must not necessarily imply a decline of cross-national differences. To the contrary, cross-national differences are often brought more clearly to the surface by the divergent national processing of similar transnational problems. The research of the Department will therefore be strongly directed towards cross-nationally comparative questions and research designs.