Integration and transnationalism: how are the two connected?

Warsaw, Poland, 9 September 2011

We invite papers for a session at the Eighth Annual IMISCOE Conference, ‘Dynamics of European Migration Space: Economy, Politics and Development’, entitled Integration and transnationalism: how are the two connected? Session organizers are Jørgen Carling and Marta Bivand Erdal, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). The deadline for abstracts is 15 June 2011.


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.

Call for papers

In this session we invite 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. Abstracts (200-300 words) should be submitted to Jørgen Carling ( by 15 June 2011. Applicants will be notified of the outcome by 30 June 2011. The closing date for registration to the conference is 1 August 2011.

Participants must cover the full cost of conference attendance. See for details. The conference lasts from the evening of 7 September to the afternoon of 9 September. Our session will take place 09:00-12:15 on 9 September. 


31.05.2011 | par martalanca | transnacionailsm