Why a master programme in migration and intercultural relations?
In the 21st century, migration processes – multidirectional in their spatial structures and multi-layered in their social and cultural settings – increasingly contribute to shaping societies. Indeed, the presence of migrants adds emphasis to intercultural relations and intercultural communication, which are of key concern for social cohesion. Moreover, and along with increasingly accelerating tendencies of globalisation, migration contests concepts of the nation state and territorial borders and directs attention to questions of social justice and human rights, conflict, and reconciliation. Migration also leads to the emergence, for example, of new concepts of identity and transnational social spaces. Against this backdrop, it becomes evident that answers to policy questions linked to phenomena as diverse as voluntary and forced migration, internal displacement and transcontinental movements, regular and irregular border crossings, unskilled labour and brain circulation need differentiated investigation and evaluation as well as complex negotiation. The 2015 developments in the EU demonstrate the need to find new responses on the local, national, European and global level.
Sustainable answers to global challenges
As a multi-perspectival study programme in migration studies, EMMIR responds to these challenges by providing state of the art education in theoretical concepts, empirical and hermeneutic methods plus issue-based transdisciplinary approaches to migration and inter/transculturality. Teaching and research in EMMIR addresses issues that currently rank highly on the global agenda – and need expertise on transnational, transcultural, and transdisciplinary level. Migration and mobility, flight, displacement and refuge – globally and (supra)nationally discussed primarily on a policy level – touch decisive dimensions in economic and social development, demography, international relations, political theory, and cultural cooperation, to name some of the key areas. Sustainable answers bridging the interests of nation states (incl. their welfare systems and labour markets) with human rights, democratic values and globality have still to be found. Research on inter/transcultural relations and inter/transcultural communication is closely linked to these questions and frequently key to the understanding of challenges and conflict.
The programme, combining the expertise of European and African universities in migration studies, strongly encourages you to critically evaluate the existing body of knowledge, concepts, and theories as well as terminologies, and to conduct your own research projects. You experience the benefits and the challenges of an international learner group, in which diverse backgrounds of fellow students and teachers offer innovative perspectives for the study of migration. The programme is also embedded in a wide network, comprising national and international (non-)governmental institutions as well as professionals in the private and the public sector. The language of instruction is English, but you are encouraged to enhance your multilingual skills.
Decentralised knowledge production
Through the incorporation of Western and Non-Western perspectives, particular attention is given to the question of how, where, by, and for whom knowledge is produced, also including, processes and dimensions of academic knowledge production and dissemination. At the same time, the programme aims at synthesising existing knowledge with the goal of developing much needed innovative answers to urgent social and political issues. In order to reach this goal, the EMMIR Consortium considers it necessary to combine the scholarship dominating global discourses with conscious efforts to decentralise the production and dispersion of knowledge. And, indeed, the foci of scholarship and, thus, the existing knowledges do vary considerably: while (im)migration and inter/transcultural relations are widely researched especially in what are traditionally considered to be ‘countries of immigration’, the situation in countries of emigration or considerable internal displacement, for example in sub-Sahara Africa, is different; there, scholarship in the field is still limited and hardly recognised. But also on the European level, the existing body of critical scholarship has not yet resulted in a common understanding of Europe’s role and liability in global migration processes, in a coordinated set of immigration or asylum policies or in an integrated conceptualisation of European citizenship incorporating the realities of societies that have been and will continue to be shaped by migration movements.
EMMIR, as an interdisciplinary site of critical analysis and reflection, provides room for you as students but also for the scholars to ponder on these questions in a mutually enriching dialogue, focusing on a range of phenomena, concepts and theories of migration. Combining the partners’ diverse expertise in migration studies with intersecting fields, such as gender studies, cultural studies, education and development studies, the curriculum takes into account all forms of migration and displacement. Related issues to be addressed are inter/transcultural conflict resolution mechanisms, multicultural governance issues and global/regional integration.
In order to tie in with social dynamics as well as securing graduates’ employability the three African and four European universities in the EMMIR partnership join forces with associates in the seven partner countries and beyond. The areas associates represent are: aid and advocacy, civil society and culture, research and documentation and local authorities, schools and continuing education. EMMIR aims at training you to contribute to improved information about the dynamics of migration and to become new professionals, consciously combining your specific national/regional/institutional situatedness and tasks with transnational perspectives, in the specific context of this programme primarily in Europe and Africa but also beyond. On a medium to long term scale, you – as researchers, programme managers, administrators, teachers, policy advisers – will contribute to the development of critical and innovative concepts that finally better the situation of refugees and migrants.