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Lucassen, L.A.C.J.


Leo Lucassen

Leo Lucassen, born in Meijel, the Netherlands, in 1959. Ph.D. from Leiden University. Associate Professor at the History Department, University of Amsterdam and Research-Director of the NWO Pioneer project 'The determinants of settlement process of immigrants in the Netherlands 1860-1960'.

Fellow (1 September 2002 - 30 June 2003)

My main achievement during my NIAS year was writing a book entitled, The Immigrant Threat. The integration of old and new migrants in Western Europe (1850-2002)', which will be published in a new series on global migration history by the University of Illinois Press in 2004. The main theme of this book is the question of whether recent immigrants will follow similar integration paths as migrants in the past. This problem has been high on the scholarly agenda of American migration scholars and has provoked an intensive debate on the similarities and differences in integration processes between 'old' (c. 1880-1920) and 'new' (1970-2000) migrants in the US. My book will take on this interdisciplinary discussion by looking at Western Europe. In order to have comparable cases, I chose to focus on (numerically) large groups that were perceived by the host society as 'problematic' or threatening. My examples for the past are the Irish in Great Britain (1840-1920), the Poles in Germany (1870-1940) and the Italians in France (1870-1940). Examples in recent periods are the Caribbean migrants in the UK, Turks in Germany and Algerians in France. All chapters were constructed in the same way. First, a discussion of the nature of the threat and the extent of stigmatisation and discrimination it has engendered. Second, I assessed how a low-status start influences integration in the long-term (over generations). This was done by investigating the key domains of integration: the nature of the migration process, the type of migrant, the position at the labour market, residential patterns, mixed marriages and the reaction of migrants themselves. Finally, I explore to what extent phenomena such as transnationalism, the welfare state, race and the Islam have changed the nature of the integration process in Western Europe and assess whether these insights can contribute to the American debate. Apart from writing the book, I worked closely with Klaus Bade and Piet Emmer as editor of the "European Encyclopaedia of Migration History".

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