Introduction: Understanding Migration Research (Across National and Academic Boundaries) in Europe


  • Maren Borkert europäisches forum für migrationsstudien Bamberg
  • Alberto Martín Pérez Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Sam Scott University of Sheffield
  • Carla De Tona Trinity College Dublin



Europe, migration, qualitative research, interdisciplinary


In this introduction to the special issue we argue that migration is a phenomenon that shifts space and time. It is an ageless human strategy to improve life and could be defined as a natural behaviour of human beings. What makes migration a subject of investigation are processes like nation-state-building, Europeanisation, globalisation and economic polarisation, which problematise the free movement of people. Academic researchers have responded to the challenges associated with this by drawing upon a range of disciplines, gathering evidence from a variety of countries, and employing an array of methodological tools to examine the emergent and evolving processes and patterns of Europe's new migration. Nonetheless, one is still faced with bewildering diversity in terms of migrant flows and the minority communities that form from these. This complexity, we argue, presents a new challenge for European migration research, particularly to those researchers attempting to understand patterns and processes of migration at a pan-European level and/or entering the field for the first time. The collection is an attempt to explore these challenges from different national and disciplinary perspectives and this introduction is designed to set the scene for this project. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs060339


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Author Biographies

Maren Borkert, europäisches forum für migrationsstudien Bamberg

Maren BORKERT is the chief editor of this special issue and responsible for two German translations and all German abstracts. She is the Vice-president of HERMES and affiliated to the European forum for migration studies (efms) at the University of Bamberg. Currently she is preparing her PhD dissertation on integration policies in Italy—their formal provisions, the interaction between political and civil actors involved and the policy implementation in local realities.

Alberto Martín Pérez, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Alberto MARTÍN PÉREZ is the Spanish editor of this special issue and responsible for two Spanish translations and all Spanish abstracts. He is a research fellow at the Department of Sociology I (Social Change) at the University Complutense of Madrid. He is currently preparing his PhD dissertation at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris and at the University Complutense of Madrid on the way immigrants' lives are influenced by their relationship with the Spanish institutions. He is particularly interested in developing ethnographic approaches in public policy analysis.

Sam Scott, University of Sheffield

Dr. Sam SCOTT is the English editor of this special issue. He completed his Ph.D. in 2003 on skilled European migration. Since then completion he has worked as a research assistant on a variety of projects looking broadly at the issues of European social exclusion and migration/ minority communities. For the past eighteen-months Sam has taught European social geography at the University of Sheffield.

Carla De Tona, Trinity College Dublin

Carla DE TONA is responsible for the experts' interviews regarding the state of the art of qualitative migration research in contemporary Europe, published in this special issue. She is completing her PhD on Italian migrant women in Ireland in Trinity College Dublin. She teaches in the field of migration studies and is research assistant for a project on Global Network in the Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College.



How to Cite

Borkert, M., Martín Pérez, A., Scott, S., & De Tona, C. (2006). Introduction: Understanding Migration Research (Across National and Academic Boundaries) in Europe. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(3).