Annual Conferences on Migration and Diversity

September 14 - 16, 2022
8th Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity


Does Culture Matter for Integration? Empirical Patterns and the Regulation of Difference

Increasing global migration flows have brought about a parallel increase in cultural and religious diversity in receiving societies. As a result, conflict actually and allegedly arising from cultural differences, including religious differences, between immigrant minority and native majority populations has become one of the most controversial issues in the political discourse of the receiving societies.

The role of culture in integration, assimilation, and incorporation processes, as they are variously called, and its repercussions for social cohesion and conflict have been examined by different social science disciplines. Sociological and social-psychological perspectives have described patterns of cultural difference and investigated the fundamental social mechanisms at play in immigrant integration. Political science and legal scholarship have focused on the question of how cultural difference is regulated in various polities. Social science scholarship, therefore, has the analytical tools to provide empirical answers to many of the questions implicitly underlying polarized political debates around immigration.

To gather such answers, the research area “Migration and Diversity” invites submissions for a multi-disciplinary conference on the role of culture in integration processes. The conference seeks to advance the analytical understanding of the role of culture and religion in shaping integration trajectories of immigrants and their descendants, the degree and the determinants of cultural assimilation, and the role of receiving and sending society institutions in regulating cultural diversity arising from immigration. What is the relationship between different dimensions of cultural integration? What role does religion play? How does rejection by the mainstream, for example through discrimination and harassment, affect cultural integration outcomes? How do we measure integration outcomes? How are native majorities affected by these processes? How do states around the world accommodate, resist and regulate cultural diversity arising from immigration? What are the outcomes of such policies in terms of social cohesion and immigrant integration?

Call for Papers


April 25-27, 2019
7th Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity


Minority and Majority Rights

Liberal thinking and human rights law recognize minority rights. Thus far, majority groups have not been granted similar rights because it is assumed that they are not vulnerable groups. The majority is presumed to be able to “take care of itself”; it can use its numerical advantage to perpetuate its political power and socio-cultural interests.

Tensions between minority and majority rights are among the most pressing issues of our time. The changing patterns in global migration reconfigure the cultural landscape of societies and shift the dynamics between cultural groups within the state. On one side, the backlash against multiculturalism and the reemergence of majority nationalism raise new concerns over the tyranny of the majority. On the other side, fears over the erosion of majority groups’ culture appear due to the accelerated pace of migration and the creation of new minorities. All these challenges call for the reexamination of fundamental assumptions in law and theory.

The conference seeks to understand better the intercultural tensions between majority and minority rights, the reflection of these tensions in law and policy, moral and legal challenges they pose to theories of democracy, diversity and justice, and their normative consequences. What are the vulnerabilities that minorities and majorities face in contemporary societies? Can minority and majority rights be asserted based on similar rationales? How do distinctive political contexts and histories influence the legal responses that shape minority and majority rights? Which policies act as barriers against cultural group rights?


June 29-30, 2018
6th Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity


Religious Fundamentalism and Violence: Causes and Mechanisms

In public as well as academic discourses, religious fundamentalism has been commonly associated with radicalization, intolerance, and violence. The 5th Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity brings together international researchers to discuss and identify causes and mechanisms related to religious fundamentalism and violence: Under what circumstances do people advocate or even use violence in the name of their religion? To what extent do social deprivation factors such as discrimination, low socio-economic status or lack of integration lead to radicalization? What is the role of religion in religious fundamentalism and violence, if any? These questions will be addressed and discussed from a comparative and multi-disciplinary perspective.

The conference is carried out within the DeZIM project RADIKAL, funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

Conference programme

Abstracts of conference papers

June 23-24, 2017
5th Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity 


Ten Years of Research on "Migration, Integration, Transnationalization":
What have we learned? Where are we going?

Ten years ago, in April 2007, the WZB established a new research unit on „Migration, Integration, Transnationalization“, led by Ruud Koopmans. The research of the department focuses above all on questions of institutional design and societal consequences of migration and integration using cross-national and interdisciplinary - sociology, political science, social psychology - approaches. In this conference, former and current members of the department will discuss what we have learned in the past ten years and which research questions will define the research agenda for the coming years. Presentations cover the following thematic fields: Integration and political elites, integration and cultural boundaries, acculturation and identity, real and perceived discrimination, labor market integration, selective migration and the labor market, religious radicalism, and anti-immigration attitudes.

Conference programme

Abstracts of conference papers

March 18-19, 2016
4th Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity Hosting The
Conference of the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group

Institutional and Policy Experiments in Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Intergroup Relations

While migration and ethnicity issues constitute salient political and social issues in various parts of the world, experimental designs have become very popular to unravel the causal processes underlying these issues. A major challenge is that macro level processes (e.g., institutions, policies, context factors) regulate how individuals experience migration and ethnic diversity. Many political, economic and educational interventions (laws, policies) intervene at the macro-level. Yet, our knowledge about how macro-level processes and individual experiences connect is limited (e.g., how do immigration policies shape the experience of citizens and immigrants in a country?). Our conference strives to make this connection by bringing together scholars from economics, political science, and social psychology who tackle the challenge of experimentally manipulating macro-level factors (or the perception/framing thereof) and examining how institutions, authorities, policies and laws causally affect the experience and behavior of immigrants and citizens, ethnic minorities and majorities.

Keynote lectures will be held by David D. Laitin (Political Science, Stanford) and James H. Sidanius (Psychology, Harvard).

The conference is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the WZB research area "Migration and Diversity".

Conference programme

Abstracts of conference papers

August 31-September 1, 2015
3rd Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity:

National Identity in Motion

The conference aims to discuss national identity at different levels, for example how individuals of immigrant and non-immigrant background negotiate and express national identity (e.g., in implicit and explicit attitudes or behaviors), how national identity is reproduced by public institutions such as schools, how states define national identity through their constitutions and laws or what measures and policies governments take to foster certain forms of national identity.
Through taking a closer look at these phenomena we want to understand if and how national identity content changes and is negotiated within and between individuals or institutions and if and why the concept still matters.

Conference programme

Abstracts of conference papers

June 26-27, 2014
2nd Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity:

Causes and Consequences of Immigration and Citizenship Policies

Over the last decade a new development has taken place, first in the citizenship and then in the immigration literature: more and more researchers have started to quantify admission, integra-tion and naturalization policies and to build indices that aim at measuring the restrictiveness of formal regulations. The developments in the citizenship and immigration fields have however taken place mostly independently from each other. The aim of this conference is therefore to bring together for the first time political scientists, sociologists, economists and others who work on policy indices in these two fields.
Moving beyond descriptive comparisons and conceptual discussions, the second aim of the conference is to explore ways to analyse causes and consequences of immigration and citizenship policies. How can we explain differences across countries and changes across time? Are policies effective and do they influence naturalization or immigration rates and the integration of immigrants?
The role of immigration and citizenship policies constitute an important research focus at the research area Migration and Diversity of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center. Ruud Koopmans and his team have developed the Indices of Citizenship Rights for Immigrants (ICRI) for currently 25 countries and the years 1980-2010. For the same period Marc Helbling and his team have built the Immigration Policies in Comparison (IMPIC) Index that covers 33 OECD countries.
Besides the presentations of these two projects the following speakers will present their work:
Thomas Janoski (University of Kentucky), Richard Johnston (University of British Columbia), David Leblang (University of Virginia), Margaret Peters (Yale University), Maarten Vink (Maastricht University/EUI), Sara Wallace Goodman (University of California, Irvine), Tom K. Wong (University of California, San Diego).

Conference programme

May 24-25, 2013
First Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity:

Ethnic Diversity and Social Capital:
Mechanisms, Conditions and Causality


The debate on trust, cooperation, and civic engagement in ethnically diverse communities has proliferated rapidly over the last decade. Dozens of studies have been conducted on a variety of countries and levels of analysis, across a range of indicators of social capital, and using divergent operationalizations of diversity. The outcomes of these studies have been almost as varied as their research designs. The time has come to draw up the balance. The conference will focus on the discussion about causal mechanisms linking diversity and social capital.

Conference programme

Ruud Koopmans/Bram Lancee/Merlin Schaeffer (eds.)
Social Cohesion and Immigration in Europe and North America: Mechanisms, Conditions, and Causality