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Globalisation, Trans-national Migrants and Cultural Reconstructions

Final Report Summary - GLOBALMIGRANTS (Globalisation, transnational migrants and cultural reconstructions)

Objectives - work performed - main results and conclusions

GLOBALMIGRANTS demonstrates that, contrary to the usual image, transnational migrants in the age of globalisation are not uniquely victims; they can also be social actors and cultural creators. Transnational migrations in the age of globalisation have given rise to a considerable number of studies in demography, economics, social anthropology, sociology and political science. GLOBALMIGRANTS is the first comprehensive and comparative research study to focus on the experience of migrants from the point of view of social movements and cultural creation in recent decades and the present context of the crisis. Our work has enabled us to achieve the three main aims - empirical, analytical and theoretical - of the project:

(a) Field-work surveys (interviews, participant observation, focus groups) and documentation survey have enabled us to collect a wealth of unpublished information and cultural production (personal accounts, narratives, films, music) relating to the experience of migrants from countries in the southern hemisphere (mainly Africa and Latin America) circulating in Western Europe.
(b) The analysis of this data has been carried out in the comparative perspective of confronting the experience and production of migrants in Europe and in the United States of America (USA).
(c) By considering migrants as social protagonists and the creators of representations of themselves, the societies which they pass through and the world, GLOBALMIGRANTS brings a fresh vision and a new perspective to the theoretical approaches of the migratory processes.

Gender dimension:
Throughout the study, and in each part, special attention is paid to the experience of migrant women, the ordeals to which they are subjected, but also their capacity to assume their destiny, to give it meaning and to represent it.

New inflexion:
Two important events - the crisis and the Arab Spring - have brought about changes in the theme dealt with and the research. The extreme mobility of the migrants studied, the transnational nature of their journeys and networks, the shifting of the issues and the upheavals which have occurred on the southern frontier of Europe have forced us to go beyond the British context alone and to extend the research to Italy, France and Spain.

Impact, target groups

The findings of this research have been widely distributed in lectures, seminars, international conferences and workshops, articles and special issues of academic journals, etc. They have also been transmitted by the networking of institutions, researchers, experts, migrants and people in charge of migrant associations.

These events and these activities do not only concern an academic audience but have also reached a wide public. The aim of going beyond the portrayal of migrants as victims, of creating something which corresponds more closely to the reality experienced by themselves, of changing their image within civil society and amongst the authorities and policy makers has also given rise to contributions in the media (articles, radio programmes, prefaces and reviews of eye-witness accounts by migrants) and participation in public debate.

Contribution to European excellence and competitiveness

GLOBALMIGRANTS contributes to studying the way in which Europe is being transformed from below as a result of transnational migrations. I emphasised this aspect of the project in three directions:

(a) completing the usual quantitative approach through collecting qualitative data related to living experience, perception and representation of migrations and discriminations;
(b) understanding how the new transnational migrants perceive the institutions to which they turn, how they succeed or not in making themselves heard, how they feel they are treated;
(c) improving the capacities of the various actors to work together, to share their knowledge in the actions aimed at dealing with questions impacting on migrants.