File No. SI2.291917
Reference No. VS/2000/0600
Budget Line: VP/2000/013
Institution: Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Immigrantenverbände (BAGIV)
Name of Project: Mobility as Faculty Against Discrimination
Duration of Project: 31 December 2000 - 31 December 2001
The project "Mobility
as Faculty Against Discrimination" has been developed in trans-national
contacts between five organisations: BAGIV (Federal Working Group of
Immigrant Organisations in the Federal Republic of Germany), Nikos Poulantzas
Society, Stichting Netwerk Almelo, Universität Essen, and the Institute
for Sociology at the University of Vienna who have been working closely
together on the project over the period of one year. The subject of
research in this project was mobility as a chance to actively respond
to discrimination related to ethnic background or age seen from a sociological
and political point of view. The aim was an extension of paradigm allowing
to understand migration from the perspective of the individuals concerned
so that existing "predispositions", life plans, and migration
strategies of individuals are considered legitimate and worthy of support.
A horizontal approach for fighting discrimination was chosen. The research
data were compiled by interviews with experts in the four participating
BAGIV, Germany, due to ist membership structure, represents a considerable number of migrant sub-organisations. Therefore, it stands for the direct participation of immigrant groups, organised in societies and/or federations. In the project at hand, BAGIV not only was responsible for the coordination and organisation of the project but contributed, as an equal match, considerably to its substance by virtue of ist experience and contacts. The partners have a command of expertise and experience in various fields of public life like research (University of Essen in Germany and the Institute for Sociology of the University of Vienna in Austria), politics (Nikos Poulantzas Society from Greece, seat Athens), and practical experience (BAGIV and Stichting NetWerk Almelo from the Netherlands). The combination of these fields makes it possible to produce context-related proposals across several sectors on the European level.
Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Immigrantenverbände in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BAGIV) Stamatis Assimenios
E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.bagiv.de
Institut für Soziologie der Universität Wien Ass. Prof. Dr. Christoph Reinprecht
Telefon: 0043-1-4277481-35 Fax: 0043-1-4277481-26
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.soz.univie.ac.at
Nikos Poulantzas Society Prof. Dr. Georgios Tsiakalos
14, Sarri Str.
Telefon: 0030-1-3217745 Fax: 0030-1-3212531
Stichting NetWerk Gerrit van Ginkel
Telefon: 0031-546-546666 Fax: 0031-546-829466
on the ethnic background of people is part of the everyday life in the
states of the EU. It may be related to different fields but its consequences
are alike: they deny individuals an adequate participation within the
These discriminating consequences can, for example, be observed on the education sector if one realizes that the educational situation of children with foreign background is considerably worse than that of comparable native children and youngsters a fact which can be proven , among other things, by the low participation in education. The special needs (for example increased support to learn the language of the host society), but also special capacities (for example strong inter-cultural predisposition and sensitivity) are not sufficiently accounted for and, to an even lesser degree, reflected in the integration efforts of the host societies.
Especially those host societies with an integration concept primarily aimed at a gradual assimilation of different ethnic groups cannot cope with the different identity concepts, plans of life, and cultural characteristics because of their policy aimed at "uniformity". Yet, these factors are crucial for a successful integration and hence for the improvement of equal chances within a society in that they pay tribute to a concept of real diversity rather than an ideal of uniformity.
A field sofar considered only marginally or not at all is the phenomenon of re-migration and trans-migration of immigrants. For, contrary to wide-spread public opinion as immigration being connected to long duration of stay, the fluctuation rate is relatively high. Here, an oscillating movement (transmigration) between host country and country of origin is a migration strategy which has hardly been noticed or taken into consideration in host nations. Transmigrations are an example for the differently designed life plans of migrants, as mentioned above. This oscillating movement (pendular) behaviour reflects the mobility requirements but also the biographic needs of migrants in that it offers the possibility to combine the context of origin with the context of the new environment. Needless to say, the original identity must not be relinquished. This biographically shaped predisposition towards mobility is in keeping with the requirements in a globalised world and can help to diminish the consequences of ethnically motivated discrimination in the host country as the option to return will lower the risk of migration. Moreover, mobility can help to build bridges between the two countries, a chance neither recognised nor adequately supported by the host countries despite the fact that it could enable migrants to actively cope with the disadvantages in the host country.
The project illuminates two aspects: One, the ignorance and hence non-support of mobility in assimilation-minded host countries regarding the special ressources and abilities of migrants; and two, the poorly researched phenomenon of mobility in the European context. The socalled "European working migration" serves as an example here since it allows to concentrate especially on the European perspective.
Our special interest was directed at two groups. To begin with, the research referred to the adolescents of the "second generation of migrants" whose intercultural competence is rarely acknowledged and supported by the education systems despite the fact that especially these abilities could compensate for poorer starting conditions. Later on in life, for example on starting a career, it is just such intercultural competence which is in demand. In addition, politicians emphasize time and again its importance in reacting to xenophobic attacks and discrimination.
Another subject of examination was the group of immigrants of the first generation which is now of an age which had not originally been envisioned in the migration concept of the immigrantion countries. Older migrants require a special kind of care which is principally different from the care presently rendered to the native population of elders. In both groups under study, discrimination was not only a consequence of ethnic background but also of the respective phases of life, as mentioned above. This phase of life deserves special support which is neither recognised nor taken into account in the assimilative integration process despite the fact that here a special need for compensation of disadvantages exists.
Objective of the project was to contribute to a change of perspective and develop practical concepts which will help to understand the mobility of migrants and, in the long run, will decrease discrimination.
The project is an
explorative study of a relevant topic which migration work and research
has not sufficiently addressed in the past. We worked in five phases.
In the first phase, the group agreed on substance and definitions; in
this context, the conditions in the various countries were addressed
and compared, with due consideration given to scientific research in
this field (research of literature). In the second phase, a methodic
instrumentarium to conduct the planned activating interviews with experts
was developed (see annex). In the third phase, the interviews were held;
interview partners were selected on the criteria of their expertise
in the fields of politics, administration, and migration work. In the
fourth phase, the interviews were documented and evaluated and finally
validated in the framework of an international forum of experts. The
results of the interviews and the deliberation of experts served as
the basis for the formulation of recommendations and the identification
of the action levels.
The fifth phase was dedicated to the the documentation and publication of the project.
D. Project Development
The time frame of only one year for the project resulted in certain restrictions in the cooperation of the partner organisations which was marked mostly by intensive talks during the individual meetings and information exchanges via electronic media inbetween meetings. A total of five working sessions took place in the partner countries in the course of the year - in Essen, Almelo, Athens, Vienna, Bonn- plus an expert forum in Berlin for in-depth discussions on substance and harmonization of the ongoing process.
1) The first meeting
took place from 25 - 27 January 2001 in Essen, Germany.
After the presentation of the participants and their organisations as well as their areas of work, organisational and financial questions were solved. In addition, the partners agreed on concrete dates for further meetings. A general brain storming was followed by proposals for concrete enactment, preliminary definitions, clarification of terms, and reflection on methodic procedures.
The project title Mobility as Faculty Against Discrimination marked both the beginning and end of the deliberations. The definition of the terms mobility and discrimination were given special attention.
During the discussion,
a consensus in the following fields was achieved:
· Mobility of migrants exists in the states of the EU but cannot be accurately reflected by official statistics.
· The disregard of mobility of migrants as both requirement and chance is seen as expression of institutionalised discrimination.
· Mobility is a strategy of migrants which encompasses the most diverse action patterns.
· A preliminary definition of integration was agreed upon, understanding integration as a process which allows the individual to act adequately under changing conditions during his or her lifetime. An equal participation and share in society is the declared goal. The focal point of this definition is the individual without leaving aside the aspect of social influence taking. In this context, one can speak of capacities (biography, ressources, experience, etc) in the sense of a sphere of possibilities, concerning the individual, and of social framework conditions (institutional, structural, judicial, etc).
· The nation-state perspective is of diminishing importance vis-a-vis European integration and globalisation. This is the background for the evolvement of new phenomena in the migration process which, among other things, enlarge the sphere of action of the individual.
· Transmigration, pendular migration, and re-migration are different forms of temporary migration.
With regard to the
realization of the explorative study, a first brain storming took place.
The questions focussed on the following areas:
- Which experts are to be interviewed?
- Which legal and structural frame conditions exist regarding mobility?
- What reasons speak in favor of returning?
- How are decisions taken regarding return, pendular migration, etc?
- How can the way of the above decision making be operationalised for the purpose of the study?
- Should questions on these four special fields be included?
(1. Migrant generation, 2. Migrant generation, 3. municipal, 4. and nation-state level)
2) The second meeting
took place from 5 to 7 April in Almelo, Netherlands
At the beginning of the second meeting, the clarification of terms was continued on the basis of the minutes of the Essen discussions. Preliminary agreement was achieved:
· The term transmigration is interpretated as a form of mobility.
· Mobility competences are understood as a prerequisite for an individual in order to be mobile.
· Prerequisites for mobility are dependent on measures taken at the municipal and national levels. Communal, national, and EU-levels are increasingly interwoven, yet, the most important conditions for mobility are developed on the municipal and national levels.
· A typology of mobility was developed as follows:
1. from A to B (migration)
2. from A to B and from B to A (migration - re-migration)
3. from A to B and from B to A and from A back to B (pendular)
4. from A to B and from B to C (migration - onward migration)
The main objective of the meeting in Almelo was to establish guidelines for interviewing experts about their experience with the mobility of migrants.
The topics for the guidelines were broken down as follows: experience and forms of mobility, advancement of competence as prerequisite of mobility, evaluation of frame conditions, and evaluation of mobility with regard to the individual, the host country, and the native society (see annex).
Regarding procedures and organisation for the interviews, it was agreed that every project partner should conduct at least 10 talks with experts to gain impressions from the following fields: social insurance, government administration (social ministry, interior ministry), municipal administration; migrant-related institutions and migrant organisations; representations of interests (lobby groups); science (demography, migration research); politics (on both municipal and national levels).
During the working session at Almelo, talks were held with representatives of local organisations from municipalities (Gemeente Almelo), administration (Stichting Welzijn Ouderen Almelo - SWOA, Steunpunt Minderheden Overijssel), and self- organisations (Culturele Vereniging voor Turks Islamitische Jongeren). These representatives informed on their work and the situation in Almelo regarding re-migration, pendular migration, etc. This was followed by discussions on the situation of migrants in the Netherlands and in Almelo on the basis of statistical material.
3) The third meeting
took place from 31 May to 2 June 2001 in Athens, Greece
Main objective of the meeting in Athens was the evaluation of the results of the first interviews with experts. Their experience showed: the term "mobility" was seen as "difficult" and was differently interpreted. The experts stated that mobility does exist but is not statistically documented. The lack of statistics is a fact. The guidelines were used by interviewers as basis for conducting the interviews. One difficulty was the long duration of some of the talks. Furthermore it was stated that pendular migration is the most important form of migration. Mobility is furthermore seen as hindrance for integration. Difficulties were also encountered in finding interview partners in Greece.
With regard to the
specific situation of Greeks a special form of mobility was pointed
out: transmigration. This concerns mostly refugees. Transmigration takes
place also because of discrimination. Therefore, mobility can be a reaction
to discrimination. Schools were mentioned as one example for structural
discrimination. Again, the question was raised whether a positive view
of mobility depends on the individual or on the reception or on the
native country , also, if possible conflicts of interests are connected
thereto. The assessments differ according to the points of view.
In addition, the program for the expert forum in Berlin was discussed.
Within the framework
of the project, a migrant self- organisation - "Center of Migrants"
- was visited.
Jose Povedano from the Central Coordinating Office for Migrants (ZKA) of the Paritätischer Gesamtverband was a guest at this workshop.
4) The fourth meeting
took place from 9 to 11 July 2001 in Vienna, Austria
The partner organisations briefed on the process and results of their talks with experts. It turned out that access to the experts was sometimes a problem - of distance if they lived geographically far removed, and in substance when the interpretation of mobility in connection with discrimination was the subject. In the Netherlands, Germany, and Greece, the term "discrimination" contained in the title is associated with "racism" rather than with "disadvantage". In Germany, a broad public discussion on integration and immigration is presently going on but some experts from government authorities feel less "competent" where re-migration and pendular migration are concerned.
The following common
aspects can be filtered from interviews with experts:
· Mobility is a positive experience for the individual if it can actively influence it and if it regards mobility as an asset.
· Nation-state regulations as well as nation-state ideas of a homogenous society obstruct mobility.
· Harmonized pension systems and mutual acknowledgement of education certificates would have positive effects on the mobility of people.
· The immigration debate is dominated by demographic aspects (financing of pension and social systems)
· The self-definition as immigration country would result in setting up selection criteria. These may be a problem for migrants already living in a country if they want their family members abroad to join them.
· Financial reasons and the perspective of a better standard of living are the motives most frequently named.
· Professional and language abilities are regarded as the most important assets for being mobile.
· Ethnic networks are an important pre-condition for people to become and remain mobile.
· The social mobility of the second generation of migrants is low.
Furthermore, objectives, material for meetings, procedural and organisational matters as well as workshop material for the expert forum in Berlin were planned. Every partner organisation was to formulate a 2-page paper for ist workshop to be made available to all participants at the meeting. This handout contains - in condensed form - the positions which can be derived from the expert interviews on the respective topics of the workshop. The text of the invitation was jointly formulated, the invitation folders produced by BAGIV. The titles of the work groups were worded as flexible as possible so as not to pre- determine the debates in the workshops in a certain direction.
Workshop 1 - Mobility:
Chance for the Second Generation?
Workshop 2 - Mobility in Old Age: The First Generation
Workshop 3 - Consequences of Mobility from the Local Policy Point of View
Workshop 4 - Mobility versus Nation-State Conception
During the meeting, discussions were held with members of local migrants' institutions in Vienna (Wiener Integrationsfonds, Back on Stage 16/17).
5) Expert Forum
in Berlin from 6 to 8 October 2001 in Berlin, Germany
During the international expert meeting, held from 6 to 8 October 2001 in Berlin, the positions developed within the framework of the project and the results of the expert interviews came up for discussion. The point was to validate and extend the assumptions with the assistance of the guest experts and to formulate recommendations towards perceiving and shaping the mobility processes of migrants. It was of special interest which prerequisities had to be created and which barriers had to be overcome in order to further develop mobility as a principle in the sense of extending the scopes of action.
Each partner country had invited 6 experts from the sectors migration research, migration work, politics, and administration.
The invitation folder
contained the following text:
"Immigration if often connected with a final domicile in the host country. Contrary to this wide-spread public opinion, the biographical reality of many migrants is defined by re-migration, multifold- and pendular migrations between the host country and the country of origin but also by migration to third countries. This readiness to mobility reflects the different life plans of migrants, especially their need to reconcile their native context with their new context of life.
Seen from the individual perspective of migrants, mobility is a potential ressource to enlarge their capabilities. Not only does it allow the individual to make active and flexible use of the chances on the labor market, both in his native and host country, but it also opens possibilities to counteract disadvantages in the host country.
The life plans of many migrants, based on mobility, correspond to the free movement of labor as envisioned by the EU, they collide, however, with the integration concepts of many host countries who hold sedentariness and cultural assimilation in high esteem. In most of the EU countries, legal and institutional frame conditions make it difficult to realise one's own identity concept, life plan, and cultural characteristics which are crucial for the improvement of equal opportunities in the receiving and native societies."
Four working groups
were set up:
The working group "Mobility - Chances for the Second Generation of Migrants?" dealt with the situation of the "second generation" whose intercultural competence is rarely recognised and promoted by the education systems although it is just these abilities which could compensate for poorer starting conditions.
The working group
"Mobility in Old Age: The First Generation of Migrants" dealt
with immigrants of the first generation of worker migrants. Many of
those have now reached an age not invisioned in the original migration
concept. For this group, return or pendular migration are important
strategies to cope with their post-employment phase of life.
The working group "Effects of Mobility from a Local Policy Point of View" looked into the municipal level of the work with foreigners. This level is especially important because it is responsible for establishing integration measures. Hence, it is directly confronted with the effects of integration policy. Local governments have a number of instruments at their disposal to shape the immediate sphere of life of migrants and thus to strengthen their ressources and potential.
The working group "Mobility versus Nation-State Concept" looked at the issue from the point of view of national political decision makers. The nation-state does not support mobility, it even impedes it, because it regards it as running against the predominant integration paradigma.
Due to the political situation (the beginning of military actions in Afghanistan), the planned press conference intended to present the results of the meeting to the media, did not take place.
As a result of the expert meeting, a list of measures is now available which have the character of recommendations. These recommendations refer to earlier results of expert interviews like for example harmonisation of social insurance systems, residency, basic research, improvement of informations for mobile migrants, acknowledgement of education documents, etc.
of Working Group 1: "Mobility: Chances for the Second Generation
· Institutionalized embodiment and establishment of mobility advisors in all EU states.
· Principal harmonisation and transparency in education systems all over Europe
· Harmonisation of national legislation ruling access to the labor market and safeguarding the residence status
· EU-wide acknowledgement of education certificates (acquired in other EU states) and acknowledgement of education certificates from third countries based on the criteria uniformly adopted within the EU
· Uniform regulations for the acknowledgement and realisation of acquired claims on social benefits in different countries
of Working Group 2: "Mobility in Old Age: The First Generation
1. Overcoming the nation-state paradigm
· Equal rights for members of third states with long duration of residence (recommendation of commission 127 final)
· Possibility of transferability of claims from social legislation (insurances)
· Insurance companies must acknowledge their own obligations viv-a-vis persons living abroad and adhere to their general duty to inform the insurance taker concerning his rights and claims
· Harmonisation of social legislation
· EU observer to secure freedom of movement
· Transnational cooperation between cities, regions, and organisations (NGOs, trade unions...)
· Training and information of public administration
of decision guidelines
· Scientific research which includes the viewpoints of migrants concerned
· Continuous social reporting on the migrant population
· Documentation of "Best Practices" at the local level concerning mobility
· Information adequate for target group: ability to acquire knowledge and information on mobility
· Empowerment: capacitating elder migrants to use their specific knowledge/experience
· Promotion of self-initiatives and strengthening of the Civil Society
"Visualisation": public relations, media work, sending representatives to advisory boards (consultative expert boards), qualified personnel in working with senior citizens
Recommendations of Working Group 3: "Effects of Mobility as Seen from the Local Politics Point of View"
1. General Recommendations
· EU states have to realise that mobility cannot be totally directed by laws and procedures
· Essential is an EU publication with guidelines for municipalities on how to deal with the migrants' claim to mobility
· Fostering integration must not be understood as contradiction to mobility
· Promotion of partnerships between cities with a view to accompany migration and re-migration
· Communities develop mechanisms to supplement restrictive national regulations or to evade them
· Establishment of an internet data bank by European cities to inform mobility-minded migrants
2. Education - Qualification
· Assessment of individual abilities of immigrants and refugees - recognize strong points, compensate deficits
· Multi-lingual school models: "European School", municipal schools
· Multi-cultural education measures for adults
· Employment of migrants in public administration (promotion plans)
· Counseling for setting up business/enterprise
· Making use of specific ressources of migrants
of Social Networks
· Supporting partnerships between the formal municipal government and the more informal "communities"
· The networks of self-organisations should be included as supplier of social services
· Support of organisations which are active in the field of anti-discrimination
5. Social Rights
· No connection between social benefits and duration of residence
· Transfer of acquired claims to social benefits for shuttle-migrants and re-migrants into other countries
6. Right to Vote
and Co-Determination Processes
· Strengthening of political participation by further developing legislation on suffrage and co-determination for migrants
· Access to municipal housing (without prescribing duration of stay)
· Multi-cultural homes for senior citizens
· Housing for pendular-migrants (Rotterdam-Anatolia)
of the Working Group 4: "Mobility versus Nation-state Perception"
· Freedom to move for migrants from third countries with long duration of stay must be equal to that of EU citizens
The catalogue of recommendations as developed above is seen as a "thought-provoking impulse" and could give important inputs for the political work.
The final, evaluating
meeting took place from 29 November - 1 December 2001 in Bonn, Germany
An evaluation and assessment of the project was made followed by a discussion and adoption of the final documents.
The partners agreed
that the project has contributed to increased public awareness regarding
the issue of mobility. This was achieved via multiplicators like experts
and self-organisation in all of the four partner countries. The recommendations
set up during the international forum of experts in Berlin support the
attempts to foster mobility of migrants on the European level. The trans-national
cooperation confirms the adequacy of the horizontal approach in fighting
discrimination. The existing networks, which will continue to exist,
will contribute to the dissemination of publications and recommendations.
· Freedom of move for migrants from third countries with long duration of stay must be equal to that of EU citizens
· Securing the transfer of all acquired claims on social benefits without loss
· Cooperative projects of EU states to foster and shape mobility directly in order to counteract disparities in development between countries and regions
· Regular consultations between host and native countries to identify and remove hindrances to mobility
· Obligation for EU countries to counsel and inform potential migrants and re-migrants in the area of departure as well as in the area of arrival. Establishment of an internet data bank of European cities to inform mobility-minded migrants
· Support of city partnerships to accompany migration and re-migration
· Documentation of "Best Practices" for mobility at the local level
· Advancement and establishment of multi-lingual school models
· Need for EU publication giving guidelines to local governments for the need to mobility of migrants
· EU observer to guarantee freedom of move
· EU-wide acknowledgement of education certificates (from another EU state) and acknowledgement of education certificates from third countries based on EU wide uniform criteria
It is in the best cultural, social, and economic interest of the European Union and ist member states to guarantee the mobility of migrants. All the necessary prerequisites, for example retaining multi-lingual abilities, and legal frame conditions connected therewith are to be created. In this sense, the commission is called upon to remove all obstacles to mobility, one the one hand by consistent enactment of the measures already adopted in the member countries and, on the other hand, by enlarging the existing set of instruments for freedom to move.
It must be emphasized
that the existing legal provisions on the national level are not in
keeping with the global social developments as expresssed, among other
things, in the need for mobility by migrants.
It is evident from our study that migration policy will be confronted in the future with the pretended paradox not to treat integration and mobility as antagonistic forces. For the support of integration, i.e. especially allowing participation in the labor market and education system, is a precondition for meeting the requirements of mobility.
Under these conditions, which have to be created and promoted, mobility may be a capacity to act against discrimination.
The evaluation is based on participating observation in all meetings during the entire duration of the project. Every piece of material of the project, minutes, and transcribed tapes of the meetings were evaluated.
The evaluation is based on joint project targets as formulated in the proposed concept and modified and supplemented by the project development, joint discussions, interviews with experts, and the forum. Due to the short duration of the project, preliminary, try-out, pre-test, or implementation phases were not planned. All procedural and conceptional developments inevitable in such an explorative project had to be simultaneously carried out, observed, and reflected. The purpose of the evaluation was not to control but to find a position between engagement and distance.
In view of the issue
and its experimental and innovative character the evaluation was designed
as accompanying the process. Before the background of the conditions
underlying the project, the methodical approach of behavior research
Here, evaluation is not seen as a measuring and examining, external authority but as part of an ongoing process. Another possible approach would have been to comment and assess the project ex post from a remote perspective. But in doing so the chance of drawing consequences during the course of the project would have been missed, and feeding results back to the project partners would not have been possible. Most of all, the desideratum to define questions and aspects of the study in a practice-oriented way would not have been continuously examined. The evaluation saw its task mostly as moderating the self-evaluation of the cooperation partners during the phase of actual process. The self- evaluation led to improved communication and cooperation and had a motivating and activating effect. Behavior research regards communications processes as learning processes during which all concerned are undergoing change. Results from evaluations based on behavior research are capable - by virtue of their qualitative approach - of pointing out the multitude of factors and their inter-dependencies. They are of examplary importance and allow the formation of typologies. Qualitative procedures take a procedural look at the course of the study and therefore acknowledge changes in the processes of the field under study, the method of research, the persons concerned, and the statement of the problem.
The target of the study was the phenomenon of mobility of migrants. It was postulated that mobility is a strategy used by migrants to evade discriminating situations or to make use of their options,as the case may be. This supposition (hypothesis) was to be examined by the project. Further, it was to be clarified which obstacles are standing in the way of mobility and how they can be removed. The target group of the first phase was defined as migrants with EU-citizenship in the countries of the EU.
The subject "Mobility as Capacity to Act Against Discrimination" was a challenge for all concerned and pioneer work for some of the cooperation partners. "Mobility" as goal of migration work, or rather the removal of obstacles for mobility, is opposed to the existing approaches. If mobility is defined as a positive goal, worthy of support, it calls into question the existing behavior concepts for the integration of migrants. The pronounced and provocative thesis of mobility being regarded as a capacity to act against discrimination posed a challenge within the team, too. In fact, scepticism on the relevance of the subject erupted time and again during the first phase of the project. Most of the objections on the validity of the thesis "Mobility as Capacity to Act Against Discrimination" were raised by Stichting NetWerk. This organisation investigated the situation on the ground with statistical data, answering the question on the local level. Stichting NetWerk, by formulating many critical questions, acted as mouthpiece for counterarguments voiced during the subsequent interviews. Thus, it was made clear from within the team that it would be necessary not only to investigate but continuously justify in principle the subject question of the project. When, during the second half of the scheduled time, experts were interviewed, the need for justification shifted to the outside, creating something like an "Esprit de Corps" within the project team. For it was now a question of advocating the subject matter toward the outside and of defending it offensively vis-a-vis others.
of the Project and Definition (Harmonization) of Terms
The first part of the work and the first meeting were dedicated to the definition of terms. In a first step, the two major terms "Mobility" and "Discrimination" were defined before the background of divergent experience made in the partner countries. The following four countries: Germany, Greece, Netherlands, and Austria, and the levels self-organisation, municipal integration work , and scientific research were included here. It became apparent that it would be extremely difficult to reach a consensus supported by all partners alike. The cooperation partners' interests in the expected findings showed great differences. For example, for the municipal level (Stichting NetWerk), the question of practical relevance, especially the question of transferrability and practical use of the project results had absolute priority while many aspects were irrelevant for the Greek partners since their country is only gradually addressing the migration phenomenon.
As the discussion and the connection to different conditions of cooperation partners became more concrete, the more difficult it became to reach a consensus. The first meeting did not bring about the intended harmonization. The second meeting was under pressure of having to arrive at a conceptual harmonization. A quarter of the overall time span of the project had already been invested at this point. The second meeting in Almelo was crucial in this sense. An urgent project assignment, the operationalisation of the thesis on the development of guidelines for the expert interviews, was on the agenda. The guidelines and the schedule for the expert interviews had to be accepted during this meeting or the entire timetable would have been invalid. The discussion started anew with the conceptional clarification of the project and stopped soon after. The time budget did not allow a step-by-step definition of terms. Therefore, the guidelines were treated first. This resort to a concrete question acted like a catalyst. Moving along the guidelines, a conceptional consensus for the major terms was found. This procedure, forced on the group by time pressure, proved to be very work intensive but resulted in an initial understanding via feed-back. The relevance of mobility, more than anything else, was laid down as common basic principle even though statistical material to underpin this central tenet did not exist in all countries. At this point, it was also considered uncontroversial that mobility must be assessed as a positive strategy from the viewpoint of migrants. The participants agreed on this common denominator as it was impossible at this point to reach greater consonance. The cooperation partners stated diverging hypotheses and country-specific frame conditions regarding the effects of individual mobility strategies (of migrants) for the integration process and the effects on the community on the municipal and national-state level.
At last, the overall
design of the study, including guidelines, spot checks, and mode of
procedure were agreed upon. This was made possible by
1. Excluding certain questions for the time being and saving them for future meetings
2. delegating them to the expert interviews.
In doing so, part of the accumulated tension was defused. The subsequent expert interviews served as a kind of moratorium during which the cooperation partners could achieve further clarification with the help of experts. Two important aspects have to be emphasized here:
a. The Cooperation
The composition of the project team goes back to an initiave by BAGIV. The project partners, in some cases, hold different views on the purpose of the project and are engaged in different fields of work (science, work at municipal level, self-organisation, political representation). Thus, starting conditions and implications were totally diverging. The result of this was a complex field of tension composed of differring, partly opposite tasks and expectations. The great heterogenity of perspectives could have been expected to pose great difficulties in reaching an agreement under the given working conditions and the narrow time frame of the project, but the project team had been aware of this complexity from the start. The assortment of tasks would lead to different accentuations in the different sectors, and there were phases in which a certain sector obtained greater weight at the cost of another, and vice versa. Aspects which a priori had not been included would become very important all of a sudden. This is actually not astonishing since the necessary know-how can only be gained in the course of such an explorative research project. Consequently, the team had to concretise, examine, and enact the research design while modifying it continually during the process.
The necessity for constant search and modifications resulted also from the fact that - at the start of the project - the practitians in the team on the one side and the scientists on the other were facing each other with different expectations. The project strategy intended to place the two perspectives side by side as complements and correctives rather than playing them off against each other. The task sharing was not seen as a separation of functions (one for the practical, the other for the research sector, etc.) but as approach with different contents in which the intention of scientific research, practical reference, and social relevance correlated with each other. The course of the project was designed in such a way as not to proceed consecutively from research into practice. From the onset, the research question was to be formulated with the help of the practitians, and the selection of examination and evaluation procedures was to be made in a way that practitians saw their concerns represented and could identify with the procedure. That this was by no means natural was demonstrated by the fact that the practitians would reiterate this demand in every meeting.
It was necessary to achieve clarity on the subject of research. A theoretical discussion on mobility does exist but it is totally out of proportion to other issues like for example the question of integration. Practical knowledge on this subject is almost non-existent. Because of the scarce knowledge and experience in the sofar neglected subject of mobility of migrants it was necessary to specify the idea of the project innovatively in an exchange with the cooperation partners during the project, to concretise the research design, to validate and enact it. The point was not to reduce the multi-dimensionality and complexity of the research question but to include as many facets as possible.
b. The Heterogenity
of the Perspectives and the Starting Conditions of the Project Partners
It was the great heterogenity of the perspectives, obvious from the beginning, which made it necessary to arrive at a conceptional understanding exclusively by way of self-restriction on a few central subjects. This special labor economics was supported by the interprofessional approach and the insistence on the side of practitians on immediate results. While the heterogenity of the cooperation partners stands for multitude and innovation - a goal to be further aspired to - the narrow time frame turned out to be contraproductive. The success of this project can be attributed to the fact that the persons involved soon found a cooperative work style. They were not afraid to jeopardize the project by addressing difficulties and naming problems. Thanks to the high professionality on the one side and a coincidental agreement of idiosyncrasies of the cooperation partners on the other the interpersonal relationship was good, and discussion on substance did not have to be put aside for false reservations. This latter, unforseeable factor cannot always be taken for granted. Since all participants are professionals with intercultural background, competences in transcultural communication were available. In any case, all concerned were familiar with and aware of the difficulties and possible semantic shifts in communication so that they not only referred to different realities of the migration issue but were able to process, if only selectively, the information for the other project partners. Here, like in every communication, a common stock of knowledge was set up which was completed and differentiated in the course of the project until the end.
The project language was German of which the cooperation partners had different degrees of familiarity. For the Austrian partners, the advantages of acting in their own mother tongue were obvious, for the German partners, it was familiar as their daily language of context. A greater distance existed for the cooperation partners from the Netherlands and Greece. All concerned were aware of the problem of cultural reference of verbalisation and linguistic assymetry. It was especially this fact which created a high demand and an intensive need for concept clarification. Conceptual differences resulting from diverging perspective and, most importantly, from diverging context references of the partners should be reduced as far as possible.
The Nicos Poulantzas
Society, the Greek cooperation partner, had the most difficult project
conditions. There are hardly any institutions in the country any more
which are explicitly dedicated to migration questions, in other words,
there is hardly an equivalent infrastructure to be found. Just because
of these limited ressources and manoeuvering room, Greece seemed to
be the country of choice to ventilate the question of nation-state perspective.
This question was one of the most difficult ones of the project since
it had to do with the hitherto individual-related view (mobility as
individual strategy of migrants) in the direction of an overlapping
socio-political debate. Based on the designation of the Poulantzas Foundation
as subject and initiator of such a debate it was assigned the task of
correlating micro- and macro perspectives. Nevertheless, major logistical
problems arose for the cooperation partners where the expert interviews
were concerned. The local situation was totally different from the starting
conditions of the other project partners. Integration into the project
turned out to be difficult. The migration processes were of a different
quality since problems of illegal migration and transit migration were
paramount. The perception of the interviewed experts was focussed accordingly.
The municipal level was represented by Stichting NetWerk. The cooperation partners from the Netherlands were the practice seismograph of the project. The partner is part of the local work and must attend to the conventional integration practice. It would be unrealistic to achieve a change of paradigm in the existing integration concepts. The intention was rather to demonstrate that integration work and mobility are not marked by target conflicts. As an interim step, it was possible to draw attention to mobility and its facticity and to win significant, supra-regional experts for the interviews and the forum.
The cooperation partners Universität Essen and the Institute for Social Sciences of Vienna University: Previous knowledge and research experience on the subject were available. With the rituals of the university ambiance it was easy to contact experts. Based on existing contacts from previous projects, it was possible to resort to habitualisation in communication. In Vienna, experts were within reach; the cooperation partners from Universität Essen could not stick to their schedule for the interviews because of great distances to the experts had to be covered.
Federal Association of Immigrant Groups in the Federal Republic of Germany (BAGIV): This cooperation partner feels obligated - as roof organisation of migrant self-organisations - to represent migrant interests offensively. It initiated the project from a domestic perspective and insider knowledge on the advantages of mobility for migrants. Its main scope was the identification of obstacles to mobility and instruments to overcome them but also in the argumentation strategy in the migration discourse. BAGIV was responsible for the coordination of the project. Communication and moderation competencies of this partner, gained over many years of participation in the public debate on migration, was an asset for the project.
Conditions of Socio-Political Context
Every project procedure follows external contextual conditions. Migration is an embattled socio-political issue and therefore impossible to separate from public debate. The project work was influenced by two significant events: For one, the public discussion on migration in Germany was worsening, spurred by the report on immigration of the Süssmuth-Commission and the draft of the interior minister for a law on immigration. At the same time, a controversial discussion on migration questions dominated the public debate in Austria. On the other hand, a heated controversy over migration set in after the September 11 events; it concentrated mainly on considerations of security policy. In this context, mobility of migrants appeared as a security risk. Although attempts were made within the project team to separate basic principles from day-to-day politics it can be assumed that the answers of the experts were implicitly reflecting the ongoing public debate. A success of the project can be seen in the fact that despite the brewing crisis there were hardly any cancellations for the forum in Berlin. But as a result of the ongoing events the issue was hardly noticed by the press before the forum took place and was given only minimal play after.
Concerning the spot checks, i.e. the group of experts to be interviewed, a catalogue of functional areas from which these experts originated was determined as obliging for all cooperation partners. The latter were entrusted with the actual selection of the experts in accordance with the specific local situation. This resulted in different places and times for inquiries as well as differently weighed questions, in other words different groups of people and types of situations. The intention was not to compile a spot check gained by the usual methodic procedure since representativity of basic comprehensiveness and comparability, in the sense of control groups, was neither intended nor achievable. The spot check was more or less self-constituted, after having been initiated by the cooperation partners, by self-selection of those prepared to participate in the study. Since they were addressed as experts the conception of the guidelines allowed them to comment comprehensively and on an equal basis as far as possible. The questioning of experts (all of them recognized professionals from the different realms of migration work) was both validating and participative with regard to the thesis as well as sensitizing with regard to the issue of mobility.
The guidelines were based on the research question as formulated in the application. They had to take into consideration the different dimensions, old and young migrants, the gender, municipal, and nation-state perspectives. This was an extensive and complex program which in part was implicitly dictated by the specifications laid down in the EU-invitations. The questions could be ventilated in different depth and breadth. But being an exploration, this was admissible. It was not possible, however, to restrict the questions exclusively to the target group of EU-memberstate migrants. Almost all experts included third-state members and refugees in their considerations thus transgressing the statement of the problem.
65% of the participants of the final forum in Berlin belonged to the group of the interviewed experts. The forum can be judged as complete success despite adverse political conditions in its context. This is first and foremost due to the combination of its participants. As professionals from different fields of migration work, they were competent and qualified, in the sometimes controversial discussions with the professional public. The great need for discussion of the participants can perhaps be attributed to the shock from the political events of those days which added special urgency to their possible impact on the migration issue.
of the Cooperation Partners
A self-evaluation of the cooperation partners has taken place and has been included in the evaluation. The self-evaluation took place during the entire course of the project and during the project meetings. It was repeated especially and explicitly as a final act at the end of the project. The project targets and their interdependencies were again formulated and the effects, both intentional and unintentional, compared with the objectives. The cooperation partners drew a balance and took a position by reflecting their roles in the sense of self-distancing. A systematic evaluation process like this can and should contribute - in the framework of a model experiment - to the transparency of results and experience as well as to mutual and continuous information on the respective developments and trial runs.
By this self-evaluation,
conclusions and consequences as seen by the cooperation partners were
underlined and, had the project been continued in the form of an implementation
phase, would have been carried out. Here, too, the limited time span
for the project proved negative. The project was ended at a point when
the proceeds from the project work, - insights and habitualisation of
the partners in their dealings with each other, compilation of a common
discision code, experience from project practice, conceptional clarifications,
etc.- became visible. With self-criticism it was stated that the dramaturgy
of the forum in Berlin had been exclipsed by the current political events
and that the attempt to tie the high competence of the participants
by subsequent contacts, feedback, and polls had not been more successful.
Here, the short duration of the project left no possibilities either, unless the forum had taken place as an interim step in the course of the project rather than as its conclusion.
At the start of the project, little previous knowledge was available on the subject of the research, i.e. "Mobility of Migrants". No scientific publications and comparable empirical studies existed on the special topic of mobility as capacitiy to act against discrimination. Insofar, it was the exploration of a hypothesis whose truth and even legitimation was called into question by some experts, in one extreme case even in the form of massive refusal and resistance. The design of the research was complex as the subject under study included many different and, partly, even contradictory perspectives. Nevertheless, it was possible to shed light on the relevance and explosive nature of the thesis. The results achieved are valid. The project team regarded the evaluation as a teaching instrument and itself as a learning system.
It was possible to describe and explain the correlations, to compare them by including different, target-group oriented and action-field related perspectives and to precisely describe the circumstances. From here, it is now possible to draw consequences for professional action in integration work. But a short-term project like this cannot bring about a change of paradigm in the discussion on migration. Still, is has become evident that mobility is a serious dimension of the migration process which has been neglected sofar and calls for a change in paradigm.
In this way, this project can be seen as a first step in drawing attention to the research and discussion deficits in this field. Thanks to this project, the interested public has become aware and conscious of a sofar widely neglected dimension of the migration process. This fact was clearly confirmed by the expert interviews and the discussion with the professional public during the forum. Immediate instructions to act and assistance for the praxis cannot be expected from a one-year project. Still, presenting the issue as a new perspective and change of consciousness can contribute to practical changes in the long run.
Publications on the project and the continuation of scientific studies on mobility could initiate further developments. An example is the plan for a dissertation on mobility of migrants at the Universität Essen as a result of this project.
partners have declared at the end that they will continue the professional
discussion and the reflection on theoretical and practical implications
of mobility in their locations. They are interested in further engaging
in the issues of mobility in transnational cooperation, with the inclusion
of other national partners, and to pursue carefully directed public