Lost Potentials? The Rights and Lives of the Excluded
The MPI for Social Law and Social Policy is contributing with an interdisciplinary project to the research initiative "The Challenges of Migration and Integration". The project "Lost Potentials? The Rights and Lives of the Excluded" aims at gaining insights into the legal and political factors that create and solidify mechanisms of exclusion. To this end, a legal analysis of the relevant legal provisions that create a spectrum of possibilities and restrictions for different types of migrants in Germany will be conducted as well as an empirical survey study that allows comparing the relevance of these degrees of exclusion for integration. The latter entails collecting representative data on both documented and undocumented migrants in order to create an empirical basis for comparison.
The Challenges of Migration and Integration (WiMi) is a 3-year research initiative (2017-2020) financed by the Max Planck Society and led by Prof. Dr Marie-Claire Foblets (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale) and Prof. Dr Ayelet Shachar (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen). This collaborative project involves researchers from six Max Planck Institutes: Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (Heidelberg), Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (Rostock), Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy (Munich), Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin), Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle) and Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Göttingen). The project is coordinated by Dr Zeynep Yanasmayan.
In the recent debates on migration to Europe, and Germany in particular, researchers as well as policy makers have placed a great deal of emphasis on pathways to successful integration of immigrants and asylum seekers into the host societies. This project seeks to put a stronger focus on patterns and mechanisms of exclusion. In order to do so, the project participants have developed a comprehensive research design which is:
- Multidisciplinary: The project will bring together migration researchers from a broad variety of disciplines: law, demography, public health, economics, social anthropology, political science sociology, and history.
- Multi-perspective: The project will investigate exclusion from the perspectives of a number of different actors at the level of state agencies (the European Union, the receiving nation-states, the countries of origin), non-governmental actors, as well as the immigrants themselves.
- Multidimensional: Instead of viewing inclusion and exclusion merely as opposite and mutually exclusive pathways, the project takes a more comprehensive approach with a focus on the temporal dimension, following immigrants through the different stages of the migration process, from their initial decision to leave their country of origin to their arrival in the European Union and legal statuses they go through, right up to the moment a final decision (permission to stay, return to country of origin, etc.) has been reached and executed. The research will assess not only the changes in legal statuses, but also the links between legal statuses on the one hand, and socio-economic conditions, health, and various cultural factors, on the other. The project will bring these different dimensions and their linkages together and elaborate on their interdependencies and interactions.
The project has three clearly defined overarching objectives:
- To provide in-depth studies of the various mechanisms that effectively exclude immigrants at the different stages of the migration process, with a focus on four main areas, namely legal status, socio-economic conditions, health status, and identification with ‘emotional communities’;
- To identify the consequences of those exclusion mechanisms both for immigrants and for members of the majority societies;
- To elaborate alternative pathways that might help prevent the marginalizing effects of exclusion (especially those that raise concerns about respect for human rights), particularly with a view to policy relevance.
Picture above: Reuters / Marko Djurica