Migration in TAUs

New Minorities and Substate Territories

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  • Project duration: December 2015 - December 2017
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Migration is a phenomenon which impacts both the majority population and minority groups, at all levels, from the national to the sub-national and local level. This research area explores immigration and integration on a sub-state level, and in particular, the interplay between old and new minorities in sub-state territories. The research focuses on two main aspects: first, the impact of migration on sub-state territories, especially those characterized by the presence of so-called old minorities and, second, the accommodation and governance of migrant diversity and the development and implementation of integration policies for migrants in these territories. Moreover, the research area enquires whether experiences with cultural diversity spark the development of inclusive societies, and explores the dynamics and variables at play in this process.

The analysis of migration issues in sub-state territories provides an innovative perspective on the challenges and opportunities resulting from cultural diversity, and on how to address them beyond the dichotomy nation-state/migrant population. From multifaceted perspectives, we analyze how and to what extent migration in sub-state territories affects institutions, legal frameworks, political parties and socio-cultural attitudes and behaviors. We also explore how and to what extend old minorities and their institutional, legal and political structures, policies and discourses, influence attitudes, values and sense of belonging of migrants. This analysis is also conducted in the context of national, international and transnational dynamics such as the role of the majority at the state level, the kin-state and the countries of origin of the new minorities.

Within this broad research project, we study in particular the legislative and administrative framework including the distribution of competences on integration-related matters and their allocation at state, regional-provincial and local municipal levels. Other interlinked strands of research include: the impact of migration on movements and processes challenging the constitutional status of a region (further devolution, secession, claims for independence) and the question of how migrants and citizens with migration background influence, and are influenced by, these movements; the theoretical and empirical questions around the concept and practice of ‘regional citizenship’ as a tool to address the integration deficit of TCNs; the sense of belonging and common values; and the interplay between security issues and migrant integration. A further research strand monitors, documents and analyses participatory processes leading to the development of local integration policies in selected municipalities in South Tyrol. Finally, our research also addresses the accommodation and inclusion of refugees and asylum seekers in South Tyrol and within the larger framework of the Euregio Tyrol – South Tyrol – Trentino.

The research area fills existing gaps in academic scholarship by studying the relationship between old and new minorities at the sub-state level, with a special focus on the South Tyrolean case that so far has been mainly studied as a successful system for the protection of old minorities. Moreover, the combination of legal, political science, sociological and ethnographic approaches in the studies of migration in sub-state territories is a further added value rarely found in this specific research field. Finally, the area complements existing research on migration and new minorities in sub-state territories by enlarging the scale of comparison horizontally and vertically. Horizontally, the project compares South Tyrol and more classical case-studies (Quebec, Catalonia, etc.) with new case studies at the European and non-European level. Vertically, it brings the local/municipal level into the analysis.

The research area applies primarily qualitative methods of analysis, combining legal and political science as well as sociological approaches, in a comparative and longitudinal perspective. It also draws on the expertise of colleagues in the other research areas of the institute, particularly that regarding various forms of territorial and cultural autonomies worldwide, indigenous peoples' rights, as well as the opportunities of, and challenges to, cross-border cooperation.


Roberta Medda-Windischer (Group Leader/Coordinator), roberta.medda@eurac.edu

Verena Wisthaler (Senior Researcher), verena.wisthaler@eurac.edu

Andrea Carlà (Senior Researcher), andrea.carla@eurac.edu

Johanna Mitterhofer (Researcher), johanna.mitterhofer@eurac.edu

Jakob Gafriller (Researcher), jakob.gafriller@eurac.edu

Martha Jiménez Rosano (Researcher), martha.jimenez@eurac.edu

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Eurac Research is a private research center based in Bolzano (South Tyrol) with researchers from a wide variety of scientific fields who come from all over the globe. Together, through scientific knowledge and research, they share the goal of shaping the future.

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Our research addresses the greatest challenges facing us in the future: people need health, energy, well-functioning political and social systems and an intact environment. These are complex questions, and we are seeking the answers in the interaction between many different disciplines. In so doing, our research work embraces three major themes: regions fit for living in, diversity as a life-enhancing feature, a healthy society.

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