Join Newsletter

Causes and Consequences of Early Socio-Cultural Integration Processes Among New Immigrants in Europe

Project Summary

The SCIP project studies integration trajectories of new immigrants in four European countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Great Britain. Its substantive focus will be on migrants’ socio-cultural integration. This aspect of migration has received increasing attention in public debate yet remains seriously under-researched. In particular, existing data cannot settle the question whether socio-cultural integration is a consequence or a prerequisite for migrants’ structural integration (e.g. in the labour market) – and whether, how and why groups might differ in this regard. By focusing on recent arrivals, the SCIP project will study a particularly dynamic phase of the entire integration process, thus laying the ground for the creation of a “European New Immigrant Panel” that matches the existing new immigrant surveys in classical immigration countries such as the USA.

In the SCIP project, two cross-national waves of survey data will be collected among groups of new immigrants that vary along a number of dimensions, including religion (Catholics versus Muslims), social status (medium to high-skill versus low-skill migrants) and political identity (EU citizens versus non-EU-citizens). In all four countries, recently arrived Poles will be sampled, along with new immigrants from Turkey (in Germany), Turkey and Morocco (in the Netherlands), and Pakistan (in the UK). Depending on the country, random samples of immigrants with a maximum duration of stay of one year will be collected, either from population registers or by using respondent driven sampling.

Conceptually, the SCIP project builds on sociological and social psychological theories of identity, symbolic boundaries, and integration patterns. Against that background, the crucial question is how to explain the identification strategies chosen by newcomers during the first years of migration and the resulting socio-cultural integration trajectories. It may be expected that these trajectories, while reflecting migrants’ resource endowments upon arrival, also display group- and country-specific features. Group- and country-specific variation can furthermore be expected to be found in the relationship between these socio-cultural trajectories and migrants’ structural integration in other societal spheres, e.g. on the labour market. In particular, compatibility of home- and host-country orientations as well as of ethnic maintenance and socio-economic integration may be assumed to differ between groups and countries. For “unpopular” groups, for instance, structural integration and contacts to natives may come along with normative pressures to give up ethnic loyalties. Similarly, some but not all immigrant groups may benefit “structurally” from strong and stable ethnic (or religious) identities or transnational networks. With regard to country-level, institutional types of migrant incorporation, degrees of religious regulation and levels of informal exclusion should affect socio-cultural integration trajectories and their relationship to structural integration.

The SCIP project closely studies the causality behind these various relationships, searching for systematic explanations of variations without referring to essentialist arguments. It thereby aims to produce more nuanced and in-depth knowledge of socio-cultural integration processes in contemporary European societies.

Project Personnel

Participants Name Institution Country
Principal Investigator Claudia Diehl University of Konstanz Germany
Co-Applicant Cornelia Kristen Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg Germany
Co-Applicant Frances McGinnity Economic and Social Research Institute Ireland
Co-Applicant Lucinda Platt London School of Economics United Kingdom
Co-Applicant Ayse Guveli University of Essex United Kingdom
Co-Applicant Marcel Lubbers Radboud University Nijmegen The Netherlands
Co-Applicant Matthias Koenig University of Göttingen Germany
Co-Applicant Mérove Gijsberts The Netherlands Institute for Social Research The Netherlands
Co-Applicant Peter Muehlau Trinity College Dublin Ireland
Team Member Renee Reichl Luthra University of Essex United Kingdom
Team Member Diana Schacht University of Bamberg Germany
Team Member Anne Gresser University of Konstanz Germany
Team Member Antje Roeder Trinity College Dublin Ireland
Team Member Gillian Kingston Economic and Social Research Institute Ireland
Team Member Joanna Napierala Trinity College Dublin Ireland
Team Member Katarzyna Kozien Trinity College Dublin Ireland


Project Events