International migration issues are increasingly attracting attention in the scientific and political debate in Europe. Over the past twenty years international migrations have been characterised by profound changes, reflecting the changes in social and economic spheres. Problems of definition, difficulties of measurement, lack of comparability as well as changes in migration trends have created a large gap between the need to know and actual possibilities of analysis. This gap is more evident in the European context than in other immigration areas. The variety of causes of migration flows and the large range of their consequences have attracted the attention of all disciplines in the social sciences. The result has been the fragmentation of research in semi-independent areas of literature, which has prevented the achievement of an overall understanding of migration and the formulation of general theoretical principles. The need to develop a multidisciplinary approach to the study of migration in order to integrate the results and methodologies of various disciplines has been especially evident to researchers in the field of population studies. The Working Group focused its attention on this large area of research, considering the possible contributions of population studies to the improvement of our knowledge of European international migration. In this framework two main directions of activity were developed. In the first place, the WG wanted to stimulate the discussion on the specific contribution of population studies to migration research, devoting particular attention to the evaluation and development of innovative approaches in demography and statistics (collection and comparability of data, special surveys, micro and macro methods of analysis, integration between levels of analysis, etc.). In the second place, the WG promoted the debate and the discussion between scholars of different disciplines, with the aim of updating our knowledge on the state of migration studies at present.
The WG organized its Second Conference, devoted to International migration in Europe: new trends, new methods of analysis. (http://www.irpps.cnr.it/ricmob/web_conf/confere.htm). The conference was held in Rome in November 2004, was organised in collaboration with IRPPS and was largely supported by a grant from the Population, Migration and Environment Foundation. A steering committee defined the contents and the structure of the conference. The members of the steering committee were Corrado Bonifazi, Marek Okolski (University of Warsaw – Poland), Jeannette Schoorl (NIDI – Netherlands), and Patrick Simon (INED – France). The four topics of the Conference were: “Special surveys in international migration studies”; “New forms of migration in Europe”; “Evolution of regional patterns of international migration in Europe”; “Measuring integration: immigrants and second generation”. One hundred and thirty researchers of twenty-three different countries attended the Conference, and the papers and posters presented have been considered of good quality and have stimulated discussions and debates in all the sessions of the Conference.
The WG, the University of Milano Bicocca and the Fondazione ISMU jointly organized a workshop on Measuring integration: comparing experiences across Europe. The aim of the workshop was the comparison of methods, concepts and situations in some European countries in the measurement of integration, a crucial area for migration studies. The Workshop was held in Milano in September 2009 and included presentations on the context by P. Simon, “Measuring migrant integration: an overview” and M. Crul, “ The integration of second generations in Europe”. Papers on definitions and tools were presented by R. Bijl, “Monitoring integration through administrative records and registers: the Dutch case” and C. Bonifazi, G. Gallo, S. Strozza and D. Zindato “Foreign and immigrant populations: multidimensional definitions for multidimensional problems”. Presentations on measuring integration: the Mediterranean model included G.C. Blangiardo et al., “An index to measure integration from field survey data” and C. Finnotelli, “The case of Spain”. The session on ensuring integration in old European immigration countries included presentations by F. Heckman, “The case of Germany” and M. Safi, “The case of France”.
A book with a selection of the papers presented at the working group’s second conference was published by Amsterdam University Press in 2008: C. Bonifazi, M. Okólski, J. Schoorl and P. Simon (eds.), International Migration in Europe. New Trends and New Methods of Analysis. It addresses some of the new characteristics of European international migration. Different aspects are considered and different disciplinary perspectives are used in the fifteen chapters. In particular, attention has been devoted to analyse new forms of migration, the evolution of regional patterns, the intergenerational process of migrant integration and the use of special survey in migration studies. The book is available (free of charge) at:
http://www.irpps.cnr.it/it/system/files/2008_AUPbook.pdf or at
The Working Group was most recently chaired from 2003 -2009 by Corrado Bonifazi (Institute for Research on Population and Social Policy, National Research Council, Rome Italy, e-mail email@example.com), and stopped its activities in 2009.