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A transnational analysis that addresses both transnational organisations and the border-crossing contexts in which they exist to create a new approach which focuses both on the role of the countries of origin and destination in migrants' integration and participation.

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All over Europe, migrants have set up cultural, political, economic and social association. These migrant organisations play a central role in integrating migrants into host societies. The civic participation of migrants is also crucial for the democratic development of Europe and for the future enhancement of European civil societies. Accordingly, the importance of migrant organisations has been recognised by national and European political institutions, and the promotion of migrants’ participation in civil societies has been formulated as a policy-aim, for instance by the European Commission.

In an increasingly globalised world, however, the issues of integration and migrants’ civic participation cannot be adequately addressed by analytical concepts which focus exclusively on the nation-state. In the last two decades, new political, social, cultural and economic migratory realities, which span countries of origin and arrival, have emerged. Furthermore, current research shows that linkages of migrant organisations with countries of origin have intensified during the last decade. Mobilising diaspora organisations for development is now a key aim of international agencies (like the International Organisation for Migration) and national development agencies (such as Britain’s Department for International Development).

Although much has been written on transnationalism, most empirical research on transnational migrant organisations in Europe so far has been fairly unsystematic and has not generated comparative data for cross-national analysis. This calls for a transnational analysis that can grasp current developments in international migration and which can identify the linkages of migrant organisations with their countries of origin. This research project thus developed an analytical framework to address both transnational organisations and the border-crossing contexts in which they exist.

Project aims

  • Identify the characteristics of cross border migrant organisations.
  • Analyse the diffusion of transnational migrant organisations.
  • Study the contextual factors which influence the emergence of transnational migrant organisations.
  • Address the consequences of the transnationalisation of migrant organisations for participation and incorporation of migrants in European national societies.

Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to produce comparative data, which allowed cross-national analysis of the situation and significance of transnational migrant organisations in Germany, Poland, Spain and Britain. In the first phase, 30 important cross border migrant organisations in each country were identified. Four organisations considered transnational migrant organisations (according to the project criteria) were then selected for each country, and analysed.

Partner research Institutes

Selected publications

Related research themes