Migration Department

The Department regards migration as a phenomenon affecting society as a whole. When studying the causes and consequences of migration movements, it focuses on the diversity of migration experiences. This perspective encompasses the interplay between migration aspirations and the prospects of these being realised, as well as a broad spectrum of forms of mobility, including return and immobility.

We look at multidimensional causes and consequences of aspirations and abilities regarding (im)mobility, and of migration control processes.
Dr. Zeynep Yanasmayan, Head of the Migration Department

Main research areas

The Migration Department conducts research on these topics in particular:

  • Mobility aspirations and abilities: The Migration Department centres its research around the multidimensionality of decisions on migration and mobility, and underlines the diversity of the driving forces behind these. For this purpose, it studies a variety of actors and mechanisms, and various dynamics of aspirations and abilities regarding (im)mobility, setting its findings in the local and global contexts.
  • Migration control: The Migration Department sheds light on the negotiation and implementation of standards and practices in migration control, and the consequences of these for (potential) migrants. In so doing, the Department adopts a transnational perspective, and takes account of unequal local and transnational power relationships. It also devotes itself to the topic of fair mobility.
  • Transnational mobilisation: The Department examines the international political public which intervenes in the trade-off between national and international legal standards. For this purpose, it studies civil-society actors and transnational solidarity networks in order to highlight the agency, room for manoeuvre and interdependencies of various actors in the transnational space.
  • Migration and societal change: The Department also studies migration not as a one-off event, but as the cause, trigger and subject of societal transformation processes at different spatial levels. Here it also focuses on transformation processes in societies of origin and host societies outside Germany.


The Migration Department uses a variety of methods, including the following

  • integrated approaches that use quantitative methods to evaluate data, as well as
  • analyses of institutional, legal and political structures and processes.

Department projects

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Number of projects: 25

Department employees