9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS09 Research Methods in Ethnic and Migration Studies

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Challenges in Measuring Integration and Undocumented Migration Building I, 2E5

Understanding Integration by Addressing Complexity: The Study of "a Europe of Fortresses"

The integration of non-EU migrants is one of the most salient political issues in contemporary European politics and social scientists have dedicated significant attention to this question. Even though this field is generally characterized by its richness, its weaknesses have been its theoretical focus on specific aspects of immigration, such as political participation, immigrant entrepreneurship, models of citizenship, etc and its methodological focus on explanation rather than theory-building. This paper, which employs the comparative method, addresses migrant integration in its complexity (data on party systems, social movements and civil society, labor markets, entrepreneurship, housing, geographic segregation, crime). It has three specific objectives: 1) to comparatively analyze local integration regimes (Florence and Bari, Italy and Toulouse and Lille, France) because levels and modes of integration vary throughout Europe, all the way to the sub-national level; 2) to address the relationships between integration in various spheres in order to examine the question of 'spillover'; and 3) to explain the links between political, economic and social integration through interdisciplinary analysis based on power, class and status. The paper proposes scaling and spatial modeling techniques aimed at harmonizing quantitiative and qualitative research on immigration. Thus, through its analysis of relationships between spheres of integration and its focus on understanding complexity, the paper argues that the term 'Europe of Fortresses' seems more accurate than the commonly used 'Fortress Europe'.