TRANSMIT - Transnational Perspectives on Migration and Integration


In current migration research, the interaction of migration and integration processes is rarely examined as a coherent construct. While there is a comprehensive literature on the causes of migration, there is little knowledge of how complex migration processes themselves affect the integration of migrants in destination countries such as Germany. Conversely, there is no robust empirical evidence on how successful (or failed) socio-economic, cultural, political or psychological integration in destination countries affects the migration efforts of relatives and acquaintances in countries of origin. The reason for these gaps in research is a lack of data with which all phases of migration (on departure, en route and after arrival) can be examined in a coherent manner: to date, migration has mainly been studied retrospectively and, where appropriate, linked to biographies prior to migration. Studies that look at migrants in countries of origin and transit also neglect the subsequent processes of further migration and integration. To date, there is hardly any scientifically founded knowledge about the influence of these complex, international interdependencies and causal relationships of migration decisions, migration processes and integration dynamics - summarized as transnational networks. In order to understand integration, individual migration decisions, selection effects, and the influence of transnational networks must be investigated.

The TRANSMIT project within the DeZIM research community aims to fill this gap by building a long-term oriented and integrated data infrastructure that collects and systematically links data in countries of origin, transit and destination. In addition, existing data, such as the IAB-BAMF-SOEP survey of refugees in Germany, will be used for hypothesis formation and verification and a comparability of relevant indicators will be ensured. The data collected in the TRANSMIT project cover both (potential) migrants and the non-migrant population in countries of origin and transit as well as in Germany, thus enabling comprehensive cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the interaction between migration and integration. Data collection in Germany and along different migration routes includes representative surveys, psychological instruments and proven qualitative methods.

On this basis, individual and family backgrounds, experiences, and especially (transnational) networks are tracked over time and systematically related to migration decisions, processes and integration dynamics. A special focus is given to women and families. The data collected enable empirical analyses at the level of individuals, families, households, regions and socio-cultural groups. At the same time, systematic similarities and differences between different groups of migrants can be identified both within Germany and across national borders.

From the current research situation and based on the pilot phase, the following - non-exhaustive - research questions of high social relevance arise for TRANSMIT: Why do some people migrate while others remain behind under similar socio-economic circumstances? Which factors determine which socio-demographic groups leave their home countries and how does this selectivity affect integration in Germany? What influence do (traumatic) experiences in the country of origin and during migration have on integration opportunities in Germany? How do transnational networks (e.g. family, relatives, acquaintances, information) influence migration processes and the socio-economic integration of migrants in Germany? Which factors play a role for women and families in particular with regard to their chances of participation and integration success? How are these processes shaped by migration regimes and how do they influence them? What explanatory value do psychological factors and changing narratives of migration have for migration decisions and integration processes? Can network structures be used as a protective factor in psychological challenges of integration processes? With its focus on interdependent migration dynamics and integration processes, the TRANSMIT project deals with questions of highest political relevance for Germany.

The preparation of the project was carried out in the period 2018 - 2019 under the name ExiTT.