ISEM 2014

Topic – Migration


“All of us are migrants to this world for a few days!”
– Kandathil Sebastian


Participating Universities

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The ISEM group 2014

If you are interested in more information about the ISEM 2013, click to view the final report:

IB report_ISEM 2014

ISEM 2014 group pic

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Migration is one of our century’s hot spots in a variety of scientific disciplines, strongly affecting everyday life as well as social and economic policy in developing and developed countries alike. Defined as the indefinite or permanent relocation of residence (Delbrück & Raffelhüschen, 1993), migration is a concept both ancient and highly pervasive today. Differences in labour markets and wages are no longer the sole and often not even the primary reason behind transnational population flows (Ghatak, Levine, & Wheatley Price, 1996). Rather, incentives for migration can be found in the absence, imperfection or disequilibria between various markets of sending and receiving countries (Massey et al., 1993).

Just as there is a multitude of pull-factors attracting immigration, there is a respectively wide scope of possible push-factors motivating emigration, with people moving within or from their country of origin due to the inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities or to escape environmental disaster and violence. There are monetary, social and profound psychological costs and benefits entailed in each stage of the migration process, showing their impact on the individual, household, national and international level (Boswell, 2008; Massey et al., 1993).


ISEM 2014_model

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During the International Seminar 2014, we want to invite students from our partnering universities to learn more about the variety of challenges encompassed under the topic of migration, addressing research questions such as:

  • How can the variety of reasons for migration and its different types like labour migration, refugee migration, transnationalism, urbanization, and mobility be categorized and distinguished?
  • What do we know about the role of involuntary forms of migration like human trafficking, ethnical “cleansing” or political refugees?
  • What is the economic, political, legal and social impact of migration on sending and receiving countries?
  • What do we know about the impact of migration on the initiation, support, or constraint of social change and – in turn – the impact of social change on migration processes?
  • Which patterns of migration are currently dominant and evolving with regard to future developments, such as climate and demographic change?
  • What are the implications of the international “war for talents” for the strategic and operational management of companies in different industries?
  • What is the impact of a migration background on aspects of vocational behaviour and career development?
  • Do migration patterns represent the aggregate sum of (isolated) individual choices and if so, are those choices based on rational cost-benefit calculations?
  • What do we know about the situation of migrants, their information and support networks and coping mechanisms when facing the challenges of relocation and integration?
  • Which impact does migration have on identity formation, nationalism or international relations?

Each participating student will prepare a research question pertaining to one of these and other topic areas in the form of a seminar paper.
You can find the ISEM paper topics of 2014 here.
During the concluding seminar conference, their results will be discussed and combined.


Have a look at the conference week program of the ISEM 2014 here.



Boswell, C. (2008). Combining Economics and Sociology in Migration Theory. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34(4), 549–566.

Delbrück, C., & Raffelhüschen, B. (1993). Die Theorie der Migration. Stuttgart: G. Fischer Verlag.

Ghatak, S., Levine, P., & Wheatley Price, S. (1996). Migration theories and evidence: An assessment. Journal of Economic Surveys, 10(2), 159–198.

Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., Taylor, J. E., & Arango, J. (1993). Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal. Population and Development Review, 19(3), 431–466.


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