Over the past two decades, a gap has developed in the field of migration studies between scholars studying border controls and transnational migration flows -- the building and bridging of borders. Political scientists and legal scholars have focused on the significant policies and resources deployed to prevent the movement of people across borders. Ironically, research interest in borders resurfaced in the 1990s as the most obvious border, the Berlin Wall, tumbled down and a few years before intra-European borders were also lifted. Re-bordering and migration control were concomitant to the fall of the Iron Curtain and therefore scholars studied the new “Wall around the West,” to use the title of a 2000 volume comparing the situation in North America and Europe.

In contrast, sociologists and anthropologists have been more likely to underline transnational sociocultural ties and the success of migrant entrepreneurs entangled in global networks. Scholars in these disciplines led research on those living across borders and their transnational communities. In fact one of the theories of migration is called “transnationalism,” an approach which builds on network theory to bring attention to cross-border dynamics.

It is time to go one step beyond and study exactly how bordering, rebordering, bridging and bonding interact. For example, what are the national and local policies that affect migrant practices? How have border control policies affected not only migration but also migrants’ social strategies, economic achievements and cultural practices? How do non-state actors and organizations assist migrants in bridging the ‘here’ and ‘there’ despite new forms of border enforcement? How do efforts of internal rebordering and differentiation between members ‘of’ and persons ‘in’ the polity affect post-migration experiences and the emergence of bonding in the long term? How do local social and economic effects of immigration inform government border policies?

Our goal in these workshops is to engage an interdisciplinary cohort of students working with qualitative, ethnographic, comparative and quantitative methods to address these questions of bridging and bordering between sending and receiving societies. We seek proposals that explore bridging, bonding, bordering and rebordering as interactive and dynamic phenomena, contingent on the variable effect of national and local immigration policies, migrant strategies, and institutions and organizations functioning across borders. We seek submissions with research designs that compare these issues internationally across migratory systems and/or entail data collection in both sending and receiving countries of a given migratory flow. We also seek proposals that study migrant populations and streams with both European and U.S. destinations. In their applications, students should describe how they think their particular research will contribute to or benefit from international comparisons of research across European and US contexts.

NOTE: Unlike other fields of the DPDF Program, this research field will be organized internationally. Participating student fellows will include six French students (or foreign students enrolled in a French institution) and six American students. Its research directors are based in France and the United States. Workshops and assignments will be conducted in English. The first field workshop will take place at the Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées in Marseille, France, from June 10 to 14, 2011 (fellows in this field will not attend the earlier Spring DPDF workshop in Monterey). The first day of the workshop in France will be a conference at which several senior researchers from Europe and the United States will explore comparative perspectives on the workshop themes as part of the field orientation offered to students. Following the conference, some of the senior scholars will participate in the workshop with the student fellows. After the summer research, the second workshop of this field will take place along with the other DPDF fellows in Philadelphia, September 15 to 18, 2011.

The organization of this field is a collaborative undertaking between the Agence Nationale de Recherche (ANR), the Réseau Français des Instituts d'Études Avancées (RFIEA), with the l’Institut Méditerranéen de Recherches Avancées de Marseille (IMéRA), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.


  • Delphine Diaz

    University of Paris/I (Sorbonne), History

    Foreign Liberal Refugees in France, 1814-1852
    In the early 19th century, France became a land of asylum for many liberal refugees coming from the whole European continent. My PhD dissertation aims at studying foreign political exile in France, starting from 1814, which marked the beginning of a Spanish emigration to France, to the beginning of the Second Napoleonic Empire in 1852. The inflow of liberal refugees in France led to the gradual construction of an actual asylum policy. If the Restoration inherited some practices from the First Napoleonic Empire, the July Monarchy attempted to revitalize the asylum policy through a definition of the “political refugee”. The Second Republic hesitated between an open policy and a repressive approach to this issue. Thanks to the analysis of French government archives, I propose to investigate the police strategies that aimed at controlling the foreigners who sought refuge in France. I also attempt to analyze how they went on with their political commitment in the host country. During the 1830’s, some refugees created in France political newspapers or associations that allowed them to express their projects. In spite of their different nationalities, some common issues brought together those liberal refugees, who had to face the same problems regarding their position in French society.
  • Rene Flores

    Princeton University, Sociology

    ‘Not in my town’: local anti-immigrant policies in the U.S. and Spain
    What triggers the passage of anti-immigrant ordinances in new immigrant destinations? How do these ordinances, and the citizen movements that propel them, alter immigrant practices and outcomes? How do local and national contexts determine the cultural, social, and political resources available to immigrants, their allies, and anti-immigrant activists? How do these resources ultimately impact the capacity of each group to reach their goals? This project is a multi-sited ethnography that seeks to understand the local conditions that led to the growth of anti-immigrant sentiment and to the subsequent passage of anti-immigrant ordinances in two very different contexts of reception: rural Pennsylvania and Catalonia, Spain. Through this transatlantic comparison, I hope to shed light on the role of government actors and policies, community groups, immigrant practices, local institutions, and regional and national ideologies, in the construction of legal and social boundaries around immigrants. Throughout my analysis, I will draw on theories of immigrant incorporation, ethnic conflict, political xenophobia, identity construction, and racialization. This study will also provide, for these two local and national contexts, empirical data on ethnic relations and on the experiences and outcomes of immigrant groups from Latin America, Africa and Eastern Europe.
  • Donna-Lee Granville

    University of Illinois / Chicago, Sociology

    Material and Social Borders: Black Immigrant Trajectories to Citizenship and Political Incorporation
    In recent decades the growing number of Black immigrants has become part of a larger conversation concerning how migration influences the racial and ethnic makeup of the United States and Europe. Current literature on black immigrants in the United States focuses on their assimilation via measures of residential integration, intermarriage and socioeconomic status, but lacks information on their civic and political incorporation. The social location of black immigrants as members of two important social groups further underscores the need for an understanding of their participation in receiving societies. As the acquisition of citizenship continues to be an important measure of immigrant incorporation this research asks the following: What is the relationship between black immigrant’s citizenship status and their civic and political incorporation; how do state and non-state actors, social organizations and institutions both within and outside black immigrant communities facilitate such incorporation and how are they affected by prevailing racial ideologies? Focusing on African and Caribbean immigrant settlers in the U.S. and Europe, this research will explore the intersections between public policies, institutional actors and individual interactions in influencing the civic and political practices of a racialized immigrant group to answer these questions.
  • Emmanuelle Hellio

    University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (France), Research Unit URMIS

    Importing women to export strawberries : channeled mobility of seasonal foreign labor (Huelva, Spain)
    Since 2000 in Huelva, Andalusia (Spain), the system of contratación en origen (“recruitment from the source”) allows farmers to hire foreigners as seasonal hands for picking strawberries. Immigrant men from spontaneous migration were replaced by « legal » harvesters. Workers are recruited in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Morocco, Senegal and Ukraine. The target is persons with a profile “suitable for strawberries”, in other words, middle-aged women with family ties in their homeland, women being reputed to have « gentler hands » than men and to resist better the back pain. Once the season is over, these women must return to their homeland and wait for farmers to extend a new invitation for the next picking season. Access to the European labor market depends on the employer, as does the permit to come back. When Romania and Poland entered the European Union, cooperatives turned to Africa because “from a mercantile point of view”, these women had become “too free”. By creating a vulnerable legal status and playing on economic inequalities between countries, this recruitment “in origin” provides an abundant, flexible supply of low-cost farm hands, who are indispensable for making greenhouse agriculture profitable.
  • Federica Infantino

    Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, social sciences

    Bordering at the window. Allocation practices and applicants’ strategies at the Belgium, French, and Italian visa services in Morocco.
    The topic of my dissertation project is twofold: my aim is to investigate and analyze on one hand, a local practice of bordering carried out through the allocation of Schengen visa at the Belgium, French, and Italian visa services in Morocco (Rabat, Casablanca) and on the other hand, the strategies applicants conceive in order to get the visa including informal ones aiming to circumvent those practices of bordering. How visa applications are processed by the street-level bureaucrats (Lipsky 1980)? What kind of judgment criteria are at play during the face-to-face interactions taking place at the window? To what extent are interactions affected by those discursive and non-discursive practices of (in)security that are mainly defined at the European scale? How do agents exercise their discretionary power in the decision making process? This first object will be completed by the analysis of the avoidance mechanisms invented by visa applicants to cope with the blocking and filtering effects of the border management. In order to bypass the border at the window, visa applicants develop licit and illicit socio-economic relationships. In fact, according to my hypothesis, the strengthening of the blocking and filtering devices comes with the increase of several circumventing practices contributing to the economy of migration and characterising the border as a place where interactions and exchanges develop.
  • Daniel Lim

    University of California / Los Angeles, Political Science

    Immigration Policy and Immigrant Enfranchisement: A comparison of the U.S. and Korea
    Post-industrial international migration is characterized by the movement of people from “countries in the earliest stages of industrialization to densely settled post-industrial societies.” (Massey, 1999) In addition to the resulting cultural and economic rifts that separate sending and receiving populations, there is also the political. Because economic and political development empirically tend to go hand-in-hand, migrants often have less experience with democratic institutions. They may have different views on nation, government, and citizenship, leading receiving populations to question whether the newcomers should be allowed to join their polity. Despite the fact that migrant labor is vital for most developed economies, self-fulfilling predictions of social, economic and political friction cause debates over immigration policy to deadlock. Japan, Italy and the U.S. provide clear examples. Unlike those cases however, South Korea in 2010 drastically liberalized its naturalization policy though it faced the same set of challenges. I propose to investigate two questions: (1) what facilitated policy liberalization in Korea despite so many failures elsewhere? (2) To what extent do immigrants in Korea use the new law to become fully-fledged members of the Korean polity? Answering these questions in the Korean context will help confront similar situations elsewhere in the world.
  • Stephanie Maher

    University of Washington, Anthropology

    From the Sahel Across the Sea: Clandestine Migration and Human Smuggling from West Africa to Europe
    Each year, thousands of West African migrants transit the Sahara to North Africa, hoping to secure clandestine passage to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea. Such expeditions frequently begin in or continue through transit states like Senegal, which, as a member of ECOWAS, allows freedom of movement across its borders. In addition, the porosity of Libya’s borders and its coastal proximity to Europe has made it an attractive exit option in recent years. States like Senegal and Libya are therefore very much at the front of European policy debates around, and multilateral efforts to control, migration flows. While such debates portray “irregular” migration as a linear movement catalyzed by regional poverty or violence, this multi-sited research proposes to examine the complex of political, economic, religious, and cultural factors motivating contemporary clandestine migration and human smuggling practices across Senegal, Libya, and France. It asks how migrants experience and negotiate mobility, and how state-initiated border controls influence migration patterns and human smuggling routines in Africa and Europe. By grounding the analysis in ethnographic fieldwork across multiple sites, this project seeks to render visible the emergent intersection between the state and the clandestine subject within the context of migration.
  • Nassim Roxane Majidi

    Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, International Relations and Comparative Politics

    Migration and Interventions: A study of Afghan migration to Europe
    Based on fieldwork led in Afghanistan, France and the UK (2007-2010), the impact of the US-led intervention in Afghanistan has exacerbated migration cycles of Afghans living in and outside of Afghanistan, with the pervasive effect of creating new migration trends and categories, and leading to an ineffectiveness of programs designed to respond to and deter irregular migration. Although the connections between military interventions and refugee flows have been discussed by scholars, the link between interventions and irregular migration has not been analyzed in the academic literature. An analysis of the profiles and experiences of Afghan migrants to Europe is a necessary step towards understanding the causes of displacement. By looking at migrant profiles, state policies and the context of intervention and repatriation in Afghanistan, we will cover the following broad question: What can the study of Afghan migration teach us about state interventions and behaviour in the international system? The outcome of this analysis is both practical – in helping to determine why we are facing an unprecedented migration crisis out of Afghanistan and evaluating the actual impact of specific European policies (such as return and reintegration programs) on migration flows – and normative, in pointing to consequences of interventions in IR.
  • Mélanie Pauvros

    Lille 2 University, Political Science

    The local policies of immigration. A new analysis of the borders of State.
    This ongoing research tries to identify how political and administrative local practices have been structuring immigration policies nowadays in France. Defining immigration policies is a requested condition for the sovereignty of the national State. This immigration policies have been gradually shared with Europe as for instance with the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, the FRONTEX agency, or the borders of the Schengen area. Although there has been a growth of the European role and the supranational role in setting immigration policy, the main question of this reserch is : How does the return of a local approach on an european border region bring another perspective on European immigration policies and of citizenship? The fieldwork and the methodology of this sociology research is composed by observation and interviews with diverse agencies in two different town halls and one regional council from different political parties: from left and right. In those three institutions, the sociological survey has been carried out by doing long-term observations and long interviews with both officers having contact with the foreign public and the local elected officials. The research is being done in a border French region at the edge of the Schengen area, where those who are so-called “illegal migrants” are squatting public areas. The research has been conducted also with some local services. These local services aren’t prepared to deal with the responsibilities of the administrative procedures for foreigners who are in the French territories. Their ordinary main work is related to the service of civil status and making enquiries to check the sincerity of weddings applications, in township services, or in harbours’ security zone.
  • Emily Joy Rothchild

    University of Pennsylvania, Music

    Hip-Hop in Hamburg: City-Sponsored Sound
    My dissertation will examine hip-hop as a tool of cultural policy in Hamburg, Germany. Commencing in 2007, the city-sponsored Hamburg Hip-Hop Academy teaches hip-hop to immigrant youth in a competitive summer program that culminates in a national tour. Joining the “assimilation through sound” Kulturpolitik (cultural policy) initiatives that aim to fulfill Chancellor Merkel’s belief that “cultural education is the key to integration,” the Academy showcases successful integration. Since the late 1980s, hip-hop has been an outlet for Turkish-German youth to express discontent with their uncertain position in Germany as descendants of Turkish migrants. Hip-hop has been a critical mode of independent artistic expression, thriving through innovation and the incorporation of non-standard sounds. In my dissertation, I will ask how does the Academy’s intervention in youth self-expression affect performance styles and musical choices? What is the relationship between Turkish-German identification with hip-hop and the city’s use of it as a tool of integration? How are political tensions felt by Turkish-German youth articulated in a city-sponsored artistic form? Can hip-hop continue to work as a vehicle for diasporic youth expression when it is used as an instrument of governmentality?
  • Cynthia Salloum

    Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Political Science

    The political character of the Lebanese Diaspora - A Comparative Study : France and the USA
    This research aims to study the political character of the Lebanese diaspora in France and the USA. The research will underline the political belongings and integration of Lebanese diasporas in the receiving countries, comparing the nature and quality of the link of both communities with their mother land. The first frame to draw is the citizen’s frame. By measuring to which degree members of these communities exercise their citizen’s rights in both homeland and the receiving country, it will enhance an analysis on the organization of multi-level citizenships and the importance of creating links overpassing categories of infra-national, national and supra-national identities. A comparison of their socio-demographical characteristics will allow us to investigate on how immigration remains a level of prerogative of the State. We wish to be able to assess the effect of the newly endowed foreign national policies in expanding the rise of migrant organizations in the hosting societies. On the other hand, a study of the group through the institutions of the diaspora will allow us to understand how migrants’ strategies are interdependent with the State’s hosting policies as well as they are shaped by the evolution of the political relation between both states (sending, and receiving).
  • Elizabeth Lynn Young

    University of Michigan, Sociology

    Questioning Would-Be Citizens, Examining the Nation: A Comparative Study of Naturalization Tests
    A number of countries have recently rearticulated their criteria for citizenship, most notably in the form of citizenship exams for naturalization. In the past decade, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom have joined Canada, Estonia, Latvia, and the United States in instituting standardized, knowledge-based citizenship exams, which include questions on civics, history, national symbols, national culture, and values. Through citizenship tests governments can construct ideal or “good” citizens with respect to their knowledge of laws and state-sanctioned values and, as such, are fruitful sites for research on broader issues of nationalism and citizenship construction. My research examines the interaction between theories of citizenship and national identity by examining the construction of these exams by their respective governments, the public debates surrounding them, and the reaction of immigrant test-takers to the content on the exams. In particular, I focus on the experiences of Muslim immigrants living in the United States and the United Kingdom.