The new IMES seeks to contribute to a budding debate around Mobility as the new paradigmatic perspective in the social sciences, by fostering a dialogue across academic disciplines and promoting intellectual reflexivity. What are the implications for social scientific investigations – in terms of research design and data analysis – when the overall framework is shifting from the sedentary to the mobile? Which types of theories and concepts are analytically effective in studying Mobility?
While we focus on mobility across national borders, and the ensuing processes of migrants’ settlement and the establishment of transnational spaces, we are equally interested in national political and social dynamics that shape and are being shaped by individual states, and that are enacted and contested in local and urban settings.
We recognize the important role of the nation-state as a political organization, yet we seek to avoid the sway of a ‘methodological nationalism’ in migration studies. We strive to study human mobility innovatively by generating analytical categories, which may or may not be in line with formal categories that are used by states in order to study populations and to draft national migration and integration policies. Of major interest to us are local, regional and transnational mobilization that evolve “below” and “above” the state.
Acknowledging the changing nature of a triangulation between territory, sovereignty and citizenship, we study political actions that move to redefine the Gordian knot between national belonging and rights. We pay close attention to the ways in which agile global capital affect national economies and in particular the reconfiguration of labour markets. We encourage studies that examine whether and how political and economic changes – that are related to the increasing presence of all sorts of migrants within national borders – have direct bearings on the democratic characteristics of nation- states around the world.
Here are some of the main research topics which the new IMES will seek to promote: