Thematically Migration and Societal Change concentrates on migration to and between European countries in the 20th and 21st century. This is placed into a larger historical framework (to include e.g. (post)colonial constellations) and approached from a transnational perspective that understands Europe as co-constituted by and entangled with other parts of the world. The focus area includes and welcomes research on a variety of topics. Interrelated themes such as the following represent important aspects of exemplary research in the focus area that tie in with recent developments in migration research and are based on the expertise present at Utrecht University.

Research themes

Drivers and dynamics of migration

Theme 1 relates to the drivers and dynamics of migration – ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors, e.g. in relation to climate change, poverty, (post-)colonial dynamics, persecution due to religion, politics, or sexual orientation; the various types of migration (e.g. labour migration, refugee migration, family reunification/formation), and the different migration trajectories that evolve in, out of and towards Europe (e.g. chain migration, transit migration, circular migration).

Adaptation, integration, and transformation

Theme 2 focuses on adaptation, integration, and transformation processes of migrants and receiving societies – e.g., what is the role of education, the labour market, policies of linguistic diversity, cultural production, mediatisation of migration, religious and transnational networks in relation to migrants’ successful integration and participation or their societal disengagement and radicalization? How are dominant traditions of receiving societies transformed under the influence of migration, and how do long-established members of society respond to this?

Governance of migration

Theme 3 addresses the governance of migration, and policies and laws that facilitate or hinder migration and integration and regulate relationships between migrants, home state and host state. It includes the relevance of migration for cities, educational institutions such as universities, the cultural and political self-understanding of receiving societies and their citizens. It also concerns normative issues, such as the economic, social and legal status of undocumented people, and issues related to transformations of sovereignty of nation states in view of international challenges resulting from (forced) migration.