Université de Strasbourg

USIAS Fellows Seminar: Are we living in a post-migrant society?

March 29, 2019
From 12:30 until 14:00
Salle Amériques (salle 265), MISHA, Strasbourg

By Ursula Apitzsch (2017 Fellow)

Are we living in a post-migrant society? Generational experiences among the descendants of immigrant families

Migration processes crucially shape the experiences of those involved, giving rise to biographies of belongings and exclusions, individual life trajectories reflecting the extent to which, and in what way, migrants become included in their receiving societies.

Which scientific instruments do we have in order to understand belonging and exclusion at the level of individual migrants? For example, what are the experiences of children of migrants, and how do these differ from the experiences of their parents and from those of the majority of society? How can we draw more general conclusions from these insights?

A new concept in European migration research is the “post-migrant society”. This concept is productive and reductive at the same time. It is productive to the extent that it takes into account that nowadays in Europe, there is no place where social relations are not affected and often constituted by migration processes, regardless of whether the involved persons are migrants or not. The concept of a post-migrant society, however, is also reductive because it tends to overlook that, even after decades, individual and generational migration experiences still matter.

The USIAS project tries to explain how different generations are coping in their biographies with the difficulties and opportunities of the transnational space that has developed in Europe due to migration, and how family and gender relations influence their choices. We developed the method of “biographical policy evaluation”, which allows us to use biographical narratives to address general questions about migration and the complex dynamics involved. Given that biographies are not only constructed by individuals, but also constituted by objective factors of very definite realities, we can gain access not only to the experience and views of the concerned individuals and social groups, but also to the ways in which macro factors impact on biographies.

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