Thomas Faist, Professor, Bielefeld University

A Transnational Approach to Migration: Concepts and Methodology

This seminar examines the transnational approach in migration studies. First, we discuss the initial conceptualizations of the transnational perspective on migration and efforts at systematization. Second, we evaluate the discussions around contentious issues regarding past vs. present transnationalism, the extent of transnationality among migrants, and transnationalization, globalization, states and politics. This part includes a typology of transnationalization in which transnational social spaces are differentiated according to the internal characteristics of group organization and the extent of common or shared values and symbols. Third, we examine methodological notes on transnational research in order to assess the term transnationality. We identify multiple research techniques used in transnational studies in light of the fact that nowadays mixed methods research is on the rise. Finally, we discuss some venues for further research through a transnational optic where the focus should be on changing boundaries as social spaces are composed of dynamic processes.

Recommended reading: Thomas Faist, Margit Fauser, Eveline Reisenauer. 2013. Transnational Migration. Cambridge: Polity.

Thomas Faist is professor of Sociology of Transnationalization, Development & Migration at Bielefeld University. Professor Faist is a world-leading scholar in the research on cross-border migration but also on citizenship and development issues. Among his most famous publications are The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration and Transnational Social Spaces (Oxford 2000); Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories and Methods (with Rainer Bauböck, IMISCOE 2010) and Transnational Migration (with Fauser and Reisenauer, Cambridge 2013).

Program for Forum for Transnational Migration and CEIFO seminars, spring 2018.