Integration and transnationalism: how are the two connected?

Session at the Eighth Annual IMISCOE Conference, ‘Dynamics of European Migration Space: Economy, Politics and Development’, Warsaw, Poland, 7-9 September 2011

Session organizers: Jørgen Carling and Marta Bivand Erdal, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

How is integration—in various forms—connected with migrant’s transnational attachments to their countries of origin? Integration and transnationalism are both complex concepts that have been deconstructed and subdivided in different ways. Still, the simplified notions of integration and transnationalism as measurable from ‘high’ to ‘low’ in one way or another are prevalent. If we accept this, three types of empirical relationships between the two are possible.

First, there could be a negative relationship, in which high degrees of integration is associated with low degrees of transnationalism and vice-versa. If integration requires an investment of time, effort and other resources, one could argue that strong commitments to the country of origin become an obstacle to integration. Conversely, as proposed in the foundational work on transnationalism (Basch et al. 1994), migrant’s experiences of discrimination motivate them to sustain transnational attachments.

Second, it is possible that the relationship is a positive one. Perhaps it is the ‘well-integrated’ migrants who have the resources required to travel frequently, have multiple homes, be engaged in transnational politics, and so on—while other, more marginalized migrants are neither transnational nor ‘well integrated’. There could also be a positive relationship in another sense, as recently argued by Lisa Åkesson (2010): successful integration in a multicultural society requires an easily classifiable ‘background’ that is reinforced through transnational practice.

Third, it may be that transnationalism and integration are distinct spheres of migrants’ lives, with no causal relationships between the two. If we start unpacking the concepts, we might also find that the multiple dimensions of both integration and transnationalism preclude any general statements about relationships.

In this session we have invited papers that explore the link between transnationalism and integration either empirically, theoretically or both. We welcome ethnographic and statistical analyses as well as papers that examine discourses on integration and transnationalism.

A large number of abstracts were submitted by the deadline 15 June 2011. The selection resulted in the programme displayed below. For information about the conference, see The organizers cannot provide copies of the papers presented. Please contact individual authors directly.


Session I – Qualitative approaches

Introduction to the workshop
Jørgen Carling and Marta Bivand Erdal (Peace Research Institute Oslo)

*Can we build on empirical examples to develop a theoretical framework for understanding the interactions between transnationalism and integration?*Ceri Oeppen (University of Sussex, United Kingdom)

Integration in limbo: the case of Turkish-German transnational space
Deniz Sert (Koç University, Turkey)

Citizenship, mobility and integration, a view from naturalised third country nationals within the European Union
Jill Ahrens (University of Sussex, United Kingdom)
Melissa Kelly (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Ilse van Liempt (Utrecht University, Netherlands)

The revelation of lawmakers’ assumptions linking integration and transnationalism – freedom for the wanted, ‘integration’ for the restMoritz Jesse (Leiden University)

Transnational social capital and self-employment among Turkish immigrants in Finland
Östen Wahlbeck (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Migrant transnationalism and multi-layered integration: Norwegian-Pakistani migrants' own reflections
Marta Bivand Erdal (Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway)

Session II – Quantative approaches

Drifting away from the host society? Transnational identification, transnational activities and local activities [ Cancelled ]
Erik Snel (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Marianne van Bochove (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands)
Godfried Engbersen (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Concurrence and compatibility between integration processes and engagement in transnational activities
Özge Bilgili (Maastricht University)

*Transnationalism and immigrant assimilation in France: between here and there?*Cris Beauchemin (INED, France)
Hugues Lagrange (CNRS/OSC-Sciences Po, France)
Mirna Safi (Sciences Po, OSC, CNRS et LSQ, CREST, INSEE, France)

Capacity and desire to remit: comparing local and transnational influences
Jørgen Carling (Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway)
Kristian Hoelscher (Peace Research Institute Oslo and University of Oslo, Norway)

The link between transnationalism and integration among the second-generation men and women in European cities
Tineke Fokkema (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute)
Laurence Lessard-Phillips (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)
Jim Bachmeier (Pennsylvania State University, United States)

Inheriting the homeland? Intergenerational transmission of cross-border ties in migrant families
Roger Waldinger (UCLA, United States)
Thomas Soehl (UCLA, United States)