Migration, Ethnic Minorities, and Multiculturalism in Europe

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Course Information
Cultural Studies
Political Science
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

One course in European History, Contemporary Politics or International Relations


The course focuses on one of the most important issues in international politics, the processes of global migration, and evaluates its meaning for the EU and its member states. It provides an introduction to major theories of migration and to the history of European migration, including labor migration in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as post-colonial migration. Two sessions on internal and irregular migration show the variety of migration Europe. Furthermore the focus of this class is on the current developments in asylum migration and the political reactions on the European level. In the second part of the course different policy approaches of EU member states towards immigration and the resulting economic, political, social and cultural conditions for immigrants’ integration are analyzed in a comparative perspective. By getting to know the social realities of different European minority groups, the class investigates integration policies and multiculturalism from a transnational perspective. An outlook to the wider context of European concepts of multicultural society, comparing it to the U.S., and the future of immigrant societies in a globalizing world order will close the seminar.

This course forms part of the IES Abroad Independent Research Program. It can be combined with the Introduction to Research Module for an additional 1 credit. 

Attendance policy: 

All IES courses require attendance and participation. Attendance is mandatory per IES policy. Any unexcused absence will incur a penalty of 3% on a student’s final grade for the course. Absences due to sickness, religious observances, and family emergencies may be excusable at the discretion of the Center Director.

Any student who has more than three (3) unexcused absences will receive an “F” as the final grade in the course.

In the case of an excused absence, it is the student’s responsibility to inform the Academic Dean of the absence with an Official Excused Absence Form, as well as any other relevant documentation (e.g. a doctor’s note), and to keep a record thereof. The absence form must be turned in as soon as possible before the class, in the case of a planned absence, or immediately upon return to the Center, in the case of an unplanned absence, in order for the absence to be considered excused. It is also the student’s responsibility to inform the professor of the missed class. Students can collect and submit the Official Excused Absence Form from the office of the Academic Dean.

Any student who misses more than 25% of a course, whether the absences are excused or are unexcused, will receive an “F” as the final grade in the course.

Tests, Quizzes, or presentations missed during unexcused absences cannot be made up.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate awareness of the relevance, causes, and consequences of migration in international and domestic politics
  • Apply social scientific theories and analytical comparative methods to the study of migration in international and domestic politics
  • Trace back major migratory movements in Europe and assess their causes and consequences
  • Compare different policy approaches to immigrant integration and to evaluate them in general as well as to give examples for the European context
  • Discuss the major challenges of migration and multiculturalism in Europe as well as developments on the European level
Method of presentation: 

A mixture of teaching and learning techniques, including class room lectures and discussions, group work, independent study, and first-hand experience on course-related excursions. Further information is provided on moodle. Students are expected to prepare the readings for each session and to discuss them with their fellow students and the professor.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm Exam - 25%
  • Active Class participation - 20%
  • Essay/short paper - 30%
  • Final Exam - 25%

Essay/Short Paper

Topic: Challenges of Migration in Europe (6-8 pages)

Students are required to complete all reading assignments and will be expected to demonstrate this through insightful and relevant contributions to in-class discussion. Active class participation will be part of the final grade.







Introduction: The “Age of Migration” on a global scale

Introduction to the course, professor, and students. Furthermore course objectives, overview of the syllabus and requirements are presented. We will then discuss the importance of migration in international politics and analyze the distinctiveness of the so-called “Age of Migration”.

Castles/Miller, Introduction, pp. 1-16.



Conceptualizing Migration: Theories and Definitions

This session will provide an overview over current theories of migration and will work towards a definition of migrants.

Castles/Miller, Theories of Migration, pp. 25-54.



Historical views from Europe: Post-colonial Migration and Labour Migration from the 1950s to the 70s

We are going to discuss the situation of stimulated labour migration during the prosperous 1960s and 1970s in Europe – so called ‘Guestworkers’. In addition the migration from former colonies was a main issue at that time.

Bade, Migration in European History, pp. 221–226. (Decolonization, Colonial and Post-colonial Migration) and pp. 227–234. (Labour Migration)



Asylum Migration and Borderland Security

This session will deal with the idea of Fortress Europe. We will take a closer look to the border crossings occurring in the Mediterranean Sea and the security agency Frontex.

Bade, Migration in European History, pp. 262–275.

Excerpts from Andersson, Illegality Inc.



Dealing with Anti-Immigrant Sentiment: Right wing populism in the EU

During the last years, populist right-wing parties have gained ground in the EU. Many of them use migrants as scapegoats to foster their policy programs. In what ways are they able to put pressure on immigration policies?

Guibernau, Migration and the Rise of the Radical Right, pp. 4-18.



Towards Convergence in the European Union? Facing the current influx of refugees

The number of people displaced by war and conflict last year is the highest seen in Western and Central Europe since the 1990s. We will focus on the political reactions within the European Union and we will discuss how migration challenges the European Union.

News Articles posted on Moodle

Institutions Field Trip


Freedom of Mobility: Internal Migration in the European Union

In this session we focus on labour mobility in Europe and concepts of transnational migration.

Hanewinkel et.al., Does the Crisis Make People Move?, pp. 1-24.


At the Margins: Irregular Migrants in Europe

Taking the treatment of irregular migrants in Spain as a starting point we will focus on the diversity of irregular migrants in Europe.

González-Enríquez, Spain: Irregularity as a Rule, pp. 247-266.



On sessions 1-8



Conceptualizing Multiculturalism and Ethnic Diversity

In the last decades migrants more than once bought in their habits and experiences, values and beliefs and therefore challenged national identities. We will walk beyond the usual process of labeling “us and them” and take a closer look to the idea of multiculturalism.

Modood, Difference, Multi, Equality, pp. 37-62.


Failure of Multiculturalism in Great Britain? The Dilemma of Who Belongs

Many citizens have been migrating to the UK from former colonies transforming the United Kingdom to an Immigration Country. But do those migrants feel really British? We will discuss the scientific perception of multiculturalism in GB.

Sommerville/Sriskandarajah/Latorre, The United Kingdom: A Reluctant Country of Immigration.


Video: Hard Talk Interview on Multiculturalism on BBC Persion TV. (Link available on Moodle)


Ethnic Notions of Citizenship: Germany – Immigration to a Non-Immigration Country

On the one hand, Germany is proclaiming its “Welcome Culture” letting in great numbers of refugees mainly from Syria. On the other hand, citizenship and full integration is still very hard to achieve.

We will discover this discrepancy talking about the historic and current state of integration policies and public reactions in Germany.

Heckmann, From Ethnic Nation to Universalistic Immigrant Integration: Germany, pp. 45–78.


Civic Notions of Citizenship: Is Assimilation the Solution in France?

France is a country granting citizenship to those who want to become French – unlike the German tradition. But youth riots of mainly Muslim immigrants since the 1990s seem to show that the “Great Nation” does have massive problems integrating immigrants. After the terrorist Charlie Hebdo attacks 2014 and the attacks at various locations in Paris 2015 – is a politicized Islam the problem?

Loch, Immigrant Youth and Urban Riot, pp. 791-814.


Moving towards common grounds in integration policies? A European Comparison

After dealing with different concepts of citizenship and integration, we will analyze the current trends in integration policies in a European comparison.

Peres, Towards the End of National Models for the Integration of Immigrants in Europe? pp. 272-310.


Essay due!

Member States Field Trip


Between Protection and Discrimination: Roma in Europe

The Roma are the largest minority group in Europe. Often caught between protection and discrimination their situation is not easily solved. We will discuss their situation referring to the European legal framework.


Kostadinova, Minority Rights as a Normative Framework for Addressing the Situation of Roma in Europe, pp. 1-22.




European Muslims: Between Integration and Isolation

Muslims form a large and divers minority group in Europe – many of them came as guest workers, post-colonial migrants and refugees. But are they really integrated? We will have a look at the situation of Muslims in Europe beyond current debates about religious radicalization and terrorism on the one, “Islamophobia” on the other hand.

Beton/Nielsen, Integrating Europe’s Muslim Minorities: Public Anxieties, Policy Responses (online resource)


Ramadan, The Future of the New “We”, pp.14-17.



Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion

After analyzing different models of integration and getting to know major minority groups in Europe, this session will take a look on the everyday practice of integration. Interaction and trust are therefore seen as key elements of social cohesion, while segregation and ghettoization are identified as source of failed integration.

Hewstone et.al., Diversity and Intergroup Contact in Schools, pp. 208-228.


Conclusion: EU Migration in a Global Context

In our final session we will put EU Migration policy into a global context, and compare it to U.S. migration policies. Furthermore, we will be discussing the future of migration, of multiculturalism and post-migration pluralistic societies.

Castles/Miller, Conclusion: Migration in the New World Disorder, pp. 283-298.



Final Exam



Required readings: 
  • Andersson, Ruben (2014): Illegality, Inc. Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe. Oakland: University of California Press.
  • Bade, Klaus J. (2003), Migration in European History. Oxford: Blackwell
  • Beton, Meghan and Anne Nielsen (2013): Integrating Europe’s Muslim Minorities: Public Anxieties, Policy Responses, in Migration Policy Institute: Migration Information Source, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/integrating-europes-muslim-minori... (Internet Article)
  • Castles, Stephen and Mark J. Miller (2014), “Introduction,” in The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-16
  • Castles, Stephen and Mark J. Miller (2009), “Conclusion: Migration and Mobility in the Twenty-First Century” in The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 283-298
  • González-Enríquez (2010), Spain: Irregularity as a Rule, in: Trindaphyllidu, Anna (ed.), Irregular Migration in Europe. Myths and Realities, pp. 247-266
  • Guibernau, Montserrat (2010), Migration and the Rise of the Radical Right. Social Malaise and the Failure of Mainstream Politics, Policy Network Paper (Reader), pp. 4-18
  • Hanewinkel, Vera et.al. (2013), Does the Crisis Make People Move? EU Internal Migration and Economic Disparities in Europe, in: Focus Migration, vol. 20, pp. 1-24
  • Heckmann, Friedrich (2003), From Ethnic Nation to Universalistic Immigrant Integration: Germany, in: Heckmann, Friedrich and Dominique Schnapper (ed.), The Integration of Immigrants in European Societies, pp. 45–78
  • Hewstone, Miles et.al. (2015), Diversity and Intergroup Contact in Schools, in: Koopmans, Ruud et.al. (ed.), Social Cohesion and Immigration in Europe and North America. Mechanisms, Conditions, and Causality, pp. 208-228
  • Kostadinova, Galina (2011), Minority Rights as a Normative Framework for Addressing the Situation of Roma in Europe, in: Oxford Development Studies, vol. 39, No. 2, pp- 1-22
  • Loch, Dietmar (2009), Immigrant Youth and Urban Riots: A Comparison of France and Germany, in: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, no. 5, pp. 791-814
  • Modood, Tariq (2007), Multiculturalism. A Civic Idea. Malden: Polity Press
  • Peres, Hubert (2010), Towards the End of National Models for the Integration of Immigrants in Europe? Britain, France and Spain in Comparative Perspective, in: Adam Luedtke (ed.), Migrants and Minorities. The European Response, pp. 272-310
  • Ramadan, Tariq (2013): The Future of the New “We”, in: Harvard International Review, vol. 35 (1), pp.14-17
  • Sommerville, Will, Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah and Maria Latorre (2009), The United Kingdom: A Reluctant Country of Immigration, Migration Policy Institute         http://www.migrationinformation.org/Profiles/display.cfm?ID=736