PhD Studentship: The structure of migrant integration in Europe: Overview across time, groups, and

United Kingdom
Jan 03, 2018
Mar 23, 2018
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

This PhD project will focus on a timely and significant academic, social, and policy issue in Europe: that of the structure of migrant integration outcomes across time, groups, and geographies. It will explore the connections and coherence between the various ‘dimensions’ of integration (in the economic, social, political, and cultural domains, to only name a few), linking those with existing theories, empirical research, and policy endeavours. Prior comparative quantitative research has tended, with some notable exceptions (e.g. Maxwell 2012, 2013; Koopmans, 2010), to explore individual integration outcomes and only present a partial view of integration process and its link to theory and policy. Yet, the need to consider its dimensionality has been argued as essential for a more global understanding of the phenomenon (Grzymala-Kazlowska and Phillimore, 2017). Policy tools, such as the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX), also suggest that integration is of a multifaceted nature involving many dimensions (Huddleston et al 2015; Entzinger and Biezeveld, 2003; Penninx, 2005). A question that remains is the extent to which integration policy match integration outcomes, especially with regard to dimensionality. A recent review of the literature (Bilgili et al, 2015) shows that there is very little link between the two and that more advanced work is needed to establish this.

Exploring the structure of integration outcomes over time and across-contexts has come out as an important issue in European research and policy. Moreover, the idea of focussing on local integration outcomes has also gained momentum in academic and policy discourses. Thus, the work proposed here will allow for a global, long-term, comparative overview of the structure of migrant integration and its dimensionality in various European migration, policy, and geographical contexts. It will allow building an important evidence base for further academic research as well as policy intervention.

Based on previous work on the dimensionality of ethnic minority integration in the United Kingdom (Lessard-Phillips, 2017) and Europe (Lessard-Phillips and Maxwell, 2016), and the application of domestic migration flow data (Gong and Thill, 2017) the project offers an innovative quantitative study of the structure of integration outcomes that is both objective (data-led) and normative (theory- or policy-led). The analyses will focus on exploring the structure of integration outcomes (1) over time (i.e. across cohorts and over the life course); (2) between groups with various experiences of migration; and (3) across contexts (i.e. local vs national vs European). The main feature of the project is the analysis of comparative European data (.e.g., EU-LFS, ESS) using existing and novel research methodologies and visualisation methods (e.g. cluster and latent class analysis; spatial statistics) to present a long-term overview of the structure of integration outcomes, seeing whether group and geographical variations are present as well as and their rate of change/stability. Given this, it will attempt to measure, data permitting, the long-term integration outcomes for migrant and non-migrant groups (defined along the lines of country of birth, ethnicity, or religion), focussing on generational (i.e. country of birth of individuals and parents), cohort, and gender differences in the dimensionality of integration outcomes across various levels of geography, with an emphasis on local interactions.

By exploring the dimensions of integration in a long-term and comparative perspective using a quantitative outlook, the work undertaken by this project will help define integration in the broader, more global, sense of the term. It will do so by using existing methodologies in an innovative way to explore the dimensionality of integration from objective and normative standpoints, focussing on variations across time, groups, and geographies, rather than exclusively on individual outcomes. Whereas the latter has been done numerous times, it is not the case for the dimensionality aspect of integration and its underlying structure. This project thus tackles an important empirical and theoretical question that is being increasingly asked, but not often answered satisfactorily: what is the overall structure of integration outcomes in Europe and how does this vary across time, groups, and geographies? This project will provide a conceptual clarification of integration and a methodological framework for the study of its outcomes, as well as a strong evidence base for research and policy making, and principally aligns with the Global Challenges Research Theme of Migration and Displacement, with a focus on the long term effects of migration for receiving societies. Some of the methods used to examine local integration patterns are also relevant for the Urbanisation theme, as they will allow to look at change in overall and local integration patterns in European localities.


Funding Notes

Global Challenges Scholarship Scheme