Diffusion and Contexts of Transnational Migrant Organizations in Europe


The integration of migrants is an important task of the European societies. Closely linked to the question of the adequate ways and forms of integration is the issue of migrants’ participation in the countries and societies of arrival. All over Europe, migrants organize themselves in cultural, political, economic and social organizations. These migrant organizations (MOs) play a central role in integrating migrants into the host societies. The importance of MOs, however, is not limited to their role in integration. 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 MOs has been recognized by national and European political institutions, and the promotion of migrants’ participation in civil societies has been formulated as a policy-aim (European Commission 2004; Halm/Sauer 2005; Vogt 2005). However, in the face of an increasingly globalized world, the issues of integration and migrants’ civic participation can not 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 across countries of origin and arrival, have emerged. Furthermore, current research shows that the linkages of MOs with countries of origin have been intensified during the last decade. This calls for a new scientific approach which focuses on the role of countries of origin and of countries of arrival in promoting migrants’ integration and participation. What is evidently required is a transnational analysis which can grasp current developments in international migration and which can identify the linkages of MOs with their countries of origin (Vertovec 1999; Pries 2003 and 2005; Vogel 2005). For this reason, the research project “Diffusion and Contexts of Transnational Migrants’ Organizations in Europe” has developed an analytical framework addressing both transnational organizations and the border-crossing contexts in which they exist. Particularly, it seeks to (1) identify the characteristics of cross border migrant organizations, (2) analyse the diffusion of transnational migrant organizations, (3) study the context factors which influence the emergence of transnational migrants’ organizations, and (4) address the consequences of the transnationalization of MOs (if this transnationalisation can be proven to be taking place), regarding the participation and incorporation of migrants in European national societies.


2007 - 2010

Source of funding



Oxford University, Prof. Dr. Stephen Castles
Universidad de Granada, Prof. Dr. Gunther Dietz, Laboratorio de Estudios Interculturales
Universität Duisburg-Essen, Dr. Dirk Halm, Stiftung Zentrum für Türkeistudien