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Immigration and Social Systems

Immigration and Social Systems: Collected Essays of Michael Bommes

Christina Boswell
Gianni D’Amato
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 242
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  • Book Info
    Immigration and Social Systems
    Book Description:

    This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1729-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. 7-8)
    Rinus Penninx

    IMISCOE owes a lot to Michael Bommes. It is no surprise that he was a key figure in the groundwork and establishment of the IMISCOE Network of Excellence. Michael took on several important roles in our organisation. He led the research cluster on economic integration. As director of the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS), he hosted the Second Annual IMISCOE conference at the University of Osnabrück. To this day, Michael remains irreplaceable on the IMISCOE Board of Directors, where his modestly offered interventions and proposals were as constructive as they were brilliant. When the Network of Excellence...

  4. Preface
    (pp. 9-10)
    Christina Boswell and Gianni D’Amato
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 11-18)
    Christina Boswell and Gianni D’Amato

    Michael Bommes was one of the most innovative and profound theorists of immigration and integration of our time. His work drew on the systems theory of Niklas Luhmann to develop a highly compelling and sophisticated alternative to predominant contributions in migration studies. His writing constantly questions and challenges mainstream theories and concepts in migration studies, from notions of assimilation and transnationalism, to multiculturalism and discrimination, irregular migration and migrant networks. But equally important is his attempt to advance sociological research through the lens of immigration. His repeated assertion is that immigration has had major consequences for modern social systems and...

  6. 1 Migration in modern society
    (pp. 19-36)

    One of the key claims of mainstream migration research is that it is dealing with significant social structural change which represents an empirical and theoretical challenge for the social sciences. Clearly, migration research focuses its attention on problems of social integration and inequality and on the resulting potential for conflict. It sees such problems as arising from the cultural and social resources of migrants, from their opportunities to participate, especially in labour markets, education systems, political and legal systems of the welfare state, health and care facilities, and also from urban housing conditions and the circumstances and living conditions which...

  7. 2 National welfare state, biography and migration: Labour migrants, ethnic Germans and the re-ascription of welfare state membership
    (pp. 37-58)

    In modern society individuals are not ‘members of society’. The chances to become included in different social realms – the economy, law, politics, education, health and the family – are no longer based on descent, or belonging to a social strata, or to an ethnic or religious group. It is individuals themselves that principally achieve inclusion in these different social realms and the risks of failure are high. Consequently, if we understand modern national welfare states as organisational complexes which try to heighten the chances of inclusion and minimise risks of exclusion for their citizens, then one central structural form of providing...

  8. 3 Systems theory and the ‘ethnic inequality’ of migrant workers
    (pp. 59-82)

    Differentiated subdisciplines of sociology mediate their relationship to general sociological problems of theory and problems of social theory in terms of the preservation of their own core issues. This is the case for the sociology of the family, industrial sociology, the sociology of social conflicts, the sociology of migration, and also for the sociology of social inequality and the associated analysis of social structure. The sociology of social inequality, previously the sociology of class and stratification, has always, in its more sophisticated variants, claimed a central position for the description of modern society and the theoretical understanding thereof. A major...

  9. 4 Welfare systems and migrant minorities: The cultural dimension of social policies and its discriminatory potential
    (pp. 83-106)

    The histories of welfare states and international migration in Europe after the Second World War are closely interlinked. The phase of expansion and consolidation of these welfare states from the 1950s until the 1970s was also the major period of post-colonial immigration and active recruitment of labour migrants, which constituted the main paths for subsequent migrations to Europe. The recent efforts of European welfare states to adapt their welfare systems to the challenges of increasing competition in globalised markets are connected internally with policies of migration and integration; they try to restrict access to state territories for migrants seen as...

  10. 5 Transnationalism or assimilation?
    (pp. 107-124)

    In their analyses of the recent structural effects of international migration, both multiculturalists and transnationalists have criticized the classical frame of analysis in migration research. They argue that the analysis of assimilation processes does not adequately take into account recent processes of cultural pluralisation and the emergence of transnational spaces. This is mainly attributed to assimilation theorists’ understanding of society as a nationally closed container, which is seen as one of the problematic assumptions of this approach.

    Unsurprisingly, this is seen very differently by researchers interested in assimilation processes (and for reasons of simplification we call them from now on...

  11. 6 ‘Integration takes place locally’: On the restructuring of local integration policy
    (pp. 125-156)

    ‘Integration takes place locally’: this motto accompanies a multitude of events which for some time now have been organised in cities, municipalities and rural districts in Germany for dealing publicly with the subject of migration and integration. A great many of these events are associated with public commitments to integration. Perhaps in the past the subject has been given too little attention and not been treated systematically enough. Or perhaps this has in fact always been done, but in the future it needs to be done even more intensively and systematically. There is, accordingly, a need for directing all responsible...

  12. 7 Illegal migration in modern society: Consequences and problems of national European migration policies
    (pp. 157-176)

    Discussions about the structures, causes and consequences of illegal migration or about the circumstances of illegal migrants begin in many cases, and not without good reason, by establishing what the term ‘illegal migration’ is supposed to signify. Here the talk of ‘illegal migration’ is repeatedly seen as the terminological stabilisation of a misjudgement: on the one hand, because most of those who live in Europe illegally, i.e. without a residence permit, are not ‘illegal migrants’ in the sense of having illegally crossed the external borders of Europe or national borders; on the other hand, because illegality as such is not,...

  13. 8 General and specific characteristics of networks
    (pp. 177-200)
    Veronika Tacke

    Networks are everywhere. They operate in all areas of society. They range from local community networks, business development networks, scientific and health networks, women’s networks and anti-discrimination networks to those associated with problems in society, such as trafficking and criminal drugs procurement. It is evident from such a list that two kinds of network exist. The first type has a positive connotation and is deemed in political, economic, legal and scientific terms to be a force for good. In other words, their development does not just simply occur, but is proactively regarded as a goal in itself. The second type...

  14. 9 National paradigms of migration research
    (pp. 201-232)
    Dietrich Thränhardt

    Migrations are an inherent part of current processes of globalisation and internationalisation, which undoubtedly provide the foundation for the increasing call for more international and comparative research. Accordingly, the number of international research projects and networks in the research area of migration has grown considerably over the last two decades.¹ Scholars participating in this endeavour, however, soon discover that the academic modes of conceptualising, defining and recording problems depend to a large extent on the respective national histories of science. This applies particularly to academic research into international migration and the ensuing problems in the regions where migration begins and...

  15. References
    (pp. 233-234)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 235-242)