This project brings together a researcher with excellent knowledge in the fields of migration, NGOs, and diversity and a background in qualitative research methods with the substantial expertise of the host institution in transnationalism, grounded theory and comparative approaches in order to develop an innovative methodological and analytical framework to study the role of migrant employees as cultural brokers in the governance of migration and integration and to train the researcher’s skills in transnational multi-level comparative research.
The governance of migration and integration is increasingly relegated from the state to (semi-)public institutions. Since the ‘crisis of multiculturalism’ new responses are searched for, ranging from resurgence to assimilationist perspectives focusing on integration and social cohesion to diversity politics, regarded as a ‘descendant’ of multiculturalism. This diversity paradigm combined with the realisation that the integration programmes developed by public institutions and NGOs needed to address the needs of a diverse client group, led to the increased recruitment of employees with a migrant background as social workers.
This research project will investigate national and local integration discourses and regimes, as well as the reflections on work practices of managers and migrant employees who work for public and semi-public institutions that deliver 'integration services'. Austria, the Netherlands and the UK are selected as case studies because of their differing migration histories and policy regimes following Lachenmann’s conception of “comparing by contextualising”. Combining a governance perspective with the concept of the cultural broker, this cooperation will foster a novel approach in the study of the intersection of integration, migration and diversity regimes which provides building blocks for important future academic investigations and offers tools to policy makers in the fields of diversity and integration.
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