March 16–18, 2022


Shifting rationalities in Migration Policies throughout Europe?

The (Un)Making of Integration by Discourses, Policies and Migrant Strategies


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Shifting rationalities in Migration Policies throughout Europe? The (Un)Making of Integration by Discourses, Policies and Migrant Strategies

Migration studies are increasingly reflecting and re-arranging their core categories and shifting their attention from questions of ‘what’ towards ‘how’). Consistent with a demigrantization of migration research, they focus on modes of producing migrants and migration through policies. While it is hard to characterize current European migration and integration policies as being overall either liberal or restrictive, social and integration policies have become more intertwined with migration control in a fragmented manner at EU, nation state or regional level. Consequently, migrants are classified in multiple contradictory ways – according to their attributed legal status, their employability, their income and further categories like gender and/or race.

These developments result in a multiplication of migrants’ statuses, something which so far has not been connected adequately to (1) political programs, discourses and rationalities, (2) multilevel forms of governance and (3) migrants’ practices. One reason for this is the controversial debates about integration and its use as a scientific concept. While some opt to enhance and further differentiate the concept as well as connecting it to further perspectives on migration, others criticize the concept due to its perspective on society as a normalized unity with its inherent colonial history. Critics focus on multiple ways of differential inclusion and exclusion in order to describe the practices, strategies and identities of migrants in Europe.

Against the background of these scientific and political developments the conference aims at bringing together scholars who are interested in these shifting rationalities in Migration Policies throughout Europe. The call invites scholars who examine the links between fragmented and intertwined multi-level policy fields of migration control, social policies and integration policies and who explore migrants’ practices, strategies and identities. This could include the following three non-exclusive areas with their respective issues and questions:

Programs, discourses and rationalities

As a central aspect of current national migration policies, the multiplication of statuses can be observed in different European welfare states in order to filter mobilities, opening access to social rights and integration for some migrants while closing it for others. The question is what overall rationalities and discourses shape these policies of inequality? How are nation state policies in this sense interlinked with European policies? And how is migrants’ diversity in respect to class, gender and race/ethnicity thereby addressed?

Multilevel governance and the gap between policies

Local-level governance – though still involved in national, EU and supranational policies – is no longer considered merely as a field of policy implementation, but is an independent policy area shaping and developing processes of integration. These policies work in two directions: they offer integration opportunities in different areas such as education, labour or care for elderly persons; they also occur as emerging urban border spaces readjusting migration on a local level. How do local authorities combine the different policy fields and contradicting objectives? How do individual organizations or street-level bureaucracies translate policies into practice and which (non-political) actors shape the field of integration practices? How do they use their scope for decision-making and how do they develop strategies apart from public policies?

Migrants’ everyday life practices, strategies and identities

We still know little about the effects of status positioning on processes of integration or in a wider sense about the impact of migration policies and their varying local implementation on the everyday life of migrants. What strategies do migrants develop to achieve their goals within specific politically structured environments? What can we learn from migrants’ practices and strategies? What role do categories such as class and gender play for them?


Migration and Social Policy Research Group within the InZentIM at the Institute for Work, Skills and Training at the University Duisburg-Essen


Sandrine Bakoben, Katrin Menke, Thorsten Schlee

Conference Programme

Please note, this short version does not contain links to the sessions; only registered participants will have access to the sessions. Registration link

Conference Programme – Wednesday, March 16th

13.00 – 17.00

Welcome: Katrin Menke (University Duisburg-Essen, InZentIM)

Programme (Download)

Board of Directors’ Meeting

17:45 – 18:00

Welcome Notes (Plenary Room)

18.00 – 19.30

Keynote: Lydia Morris (University of Essex):
The Moral Economy of Welfare and Migration (Plenary Room)

Conference Programme – Thursday, March 17th

09:00 – 09:45

Katrin Menke and Thorsten Schlee (both University Duisburg-Essen, Migration and Social Policy Research Group): The Un-Making of Dis-(Integration) – Considerations and Findings in the tension between Migration and Social Policy (Plenary Room)


Stream I Political Programs

Stream II Multilevel governance and the gap between policies

Stream III Migrants’ everyday life practices, strategies and identities – Session 1

(Until 11:00)

10:00 – 12:00

Katharina Tittel (Institut d’études politiques de Paris, France): Should They Come Or Should They Go: Media (Mis)Representations of different groups of Immigrants across three European countries.

Laura Westerveen (Brussels School of Governance, Belgium): Individual or Structural? Representations of Racism in Policy Discourses.

Karin Krifors (REMESO, Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society): Logistics of refugee reception: spatial struggles of migrant distribution

Barne Haferkamp and Karl Sandman (Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden): Changing Perspectives // Rethinking external European land borders.



Hannes Schammann and Franziska Ziegler (both University of Hildesheim, Germany), Andreas Blätte and Christoph Leonhardt (both University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany): Localities in sight! Tracing the ‘local turn’ over 70 years of parliamentary debates on migration.

Karolina Łukasiewicz, Kamil Matuszczyk and Ewa Cichocka (all University of Warsaw, Poland): Between migration mainstreaming and efficient poverty reduction. Local welfare system response to migrant poverty. 

Tiziana Caponio and Andrea Pettrachin (both Collegio Carlo Alberto Turin, Italy): A New Governance Turn for Research on the Local Dimension of Migration Policymaking?

Kristen Biehl and Meral Açıkgöz (both Sabancı University Istanbul, Turkey): Turkey’s integration policy and multi-level governance from the perspective of small and medium size towns and rural areas.

Anne Kubai (Södertörn University, Sweden): Falling through the cracks in the system’- Undocumented African migrant women’s encounter with the social services and regulatory agencies in Sweden.

Rita Udor (Simon Diedong University of Business and Integrated Development Studies, Ghana) and Bertha Essah, (Research Officer - Office of the Attorney-General & Ministry of Justice, Accra, Ghana): I prefer medicines from my country: Healthcare strategies among undocumented African migrants in South Korea.

Karolina Barglowski and Lisa Bonfert (both Technical University Dortmund, Germany): Transnational (un)belonging and social protection – The role of migrant organizations for belonging and social risk averting strategies of migrants in Germany.

Hadi Farahani, Timo Toikko and Mohammad Tavakol (University of Eastern Finland, Finland): Mental health conceptualisations of Afghan forced migrants living in Finland: Narratives of Post-trauma Growth.

12:00 – 13:00

Lunch (Plenary Room)
“Activation and Mobility” (12:45 – 13:00) (University Sports-Offer)

Get together on wonder me

13:00 – 14:30

Elina Jonitz (Erasumus University Rotterdam, Netherlands): Making Asylum Work? Civic Stratification and Labor-Related Regularization Among Rejected Asylum Seekers in Germany.

Maria de Fátima Amante (University of Lisbon, Portugal): The search for capital and innovation talent: redirecting Portuguese migration policy to categories of privilege.

Eleonore Kofman (Middlesex University London, England): Trajectories of Labelling and Stratifying in European Migration Policies in the Past Two Decades.


Odessa Benson (University of Michigan, USA): The materiality of integration practices: Examining space, infrastructure and relationalities of grassroots refugee-led organizations in endeavors of legitimacy.

Maria Schiller (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands): Governance dynamics in the super-diverse city: An institutionalist analysis of immigrant councils’ co-optation.

Ludmilla Bogdan (Harvard University, USA): Human Trafficking, Information Campaigns, and Public Awareness in Moldova: Why do anti-trafficking organizations operate under inaccurate assumptions?

Stefan Röhrer (Institute for Employment Research (IAB) Nürnberg, Germany): The Imperative of Integration and its Impact on arriving Refugees.

Katja Fournier, Dirk Geldof, Kaat Van Acker and Anke Heyerick (University of Antwerp and Odisee University of Applied Sciences Brussels, Belgium): Refugee children’s everyday life practices, strategies and identities in asylum centres in Belgium.

Markus Kohlmeier and Helen Baykara-Krumme (both University Duisburg-Essen, Germany): Parental involvement programmes: Educational integration policies and migrants’ strategies.


14:30 – 15:00

Coffee Break (Plenary Room)
“Activation and Mobility” (University Sports Offer) (14:45 – 15:00)

 Get together on wonder me

15:00 – 16:30

Andréia Isabel Giacomozzi (Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil): Social Representations about (im)migrants in Brazil in times of covid-19.

Albert Kraler (Danube University Krems, Austria) and Nuno Ferreira (University of Sussex, England): Figurations of protracted displacement in the EU: making sense of policy responses to displacement in the EU.

Réka Benczes and Bence Ságvári (both Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary): Migrants still not welcome.
Metaphorical framing of fled people in Hungarian online media, 2015–2021.

Zsuzsanna Árendás and Vera Messing (both Central European University Budapest, Hungary): Navigating integration of TCN immigrant youth in a non-integration regime.

Marta Pachocka and Joanna Poplawska (both Warsaw School of Economics, Poland): Integration policy towards migrants in Poland – national versus metropolitan policy.

Ivana Rapoš Božič, Alica Synek Rétiová and Alica Synek Rétiová (all Masaryk University Brno, Czech Republic): The warmth of the welcome: The cultural armature of cities and its role in shaping migration attitudes at the local level.

Polina Manolova (University of Tübingen, Germany): Inclusion through irregularisation? Exploring the politics of differential inclusion of EU migrants in Britain and Germany.

Anna Amelina (University of Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany): The Selective European Social Citizenship: Governance, Discourses and Experiences of Social Security Rights in the Cross-Border Space of European Union.

Adriana Costa Santos (University Saint-Louis Bruxelles, Belgium) Jérémy Mandin and Elsa Mescoli (both University of Liège, Belgium)
Accessing welfare rights in Belgium: between street-level bureaucracy and immigrants' agency.

17:00 – 18:30

Keynote: Ioana Vrabiescu (Vrije University Amsterdam):
The EU dynamics of integration and disintegration: another era for mobility and migration (Plenary Room)

Conference Programme – Friday, March 18th

08:45 – 09:00 Good Morning (Plenary Room)

Standing Committee on Immigration, Immigrants and the Labour market in Europe (IILME)

Stream III Migrants’ everyday life practices, strategies and identities – Session 2

09:00 – 11:00

Migrant work and policies and regulations during and beyond COVID-19

Tanzilya Oren (Fordham University New York City, USA): Personal, communal, and political transformative organizing of asylum seekers in Berlin and New York.

Ioanna Blasko (Uppsala University, Sweden): Strategies for finding work: Labor market trajectories of highly skilled refugees in Sweden.

Wegahtabrhan Sereke and Jolanta Drzewiecka (both  Università della Svizzera italiana Lugano, Switzerland): If you think I am ignorant because I am black, I challenge you! A case study of Eritrean forced migrants in Switzerland.

Alexandra Pereira (Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon): From Non-Documented to Temporarily Documented, Back Again and Ahead to Raspberry Passports: How Nepalese in Portugal Navigate Status Positioning.

11.00 – 11:15

Coffee Break (Plenary Room)
“Activation and Mobility” (University Sports Offer)

Get together on wonder me

11:15 – 12:45

Roundtable (Plenary Room): Bruno Meuss (KU Leuven), Miriam Neßler (ILS Dortmund) and Malte Gembus (Coventry University)
Unstable Categories in Migration Research