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Fellow (1 September 2002 - 30 June 2003)
Although a sociologist and not a historian, I worked closely together with the members of the 'migration' group during my stay at NIAS. It was interesting and useful for both sides to discover numerous parallels in the ways sociologists and historians conceptualise and interpret past and present migration. The conditions may have changed, but the motives for migration and mechanisms of integration have remained remarkably constant.
My focus was an exploration of contemporary trends in migration and immigrant integration, particularly the interrelationship between the two. The diminishing significance of distance encourages the development and maintenance of transnational ties between migrants and their kin 'at home'. These ties, in turn, may generate new migration movements. Transnational ties also help migrants preserve elements of their original cultural identity. At the same time, however, we observe a growing pressure on immigrants for acculturation, if not assimilation in various host societies, especially in Europe. What are the mechanisms behind these two seemingly contradictory trends, and how will the two trends affect one another over the years? In the context of this broader question, I have emphasised two themes in particular: the impact of migration on the welfare state, and the position of Islam in a multicultural society. In doing so, I made use of theories on citizenship, social cohesion and the welfare state.
My stay at NIAS resulted in four academic articles, three (co-)edited books and two research reports.
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