For the purpose of this book, research-policy dialogues are defined broadly as all forms of interaction between researchers and policymakers in the domain of immigration and immigrant integration. The term ‘dialogues’ is used to refer to the reciprocal nature of research-policy relations; we are not just looking at how research is used in policymaking, but also how the policy context and the dialogues influence research (in size, orientation and content: the production of knowledge). In addition, the term ‘dialogues’ is meant to capture the very diverse forms that research-policy relations may take. In some cases, research-policy dialogues evolve around a strongly institutionalised research-policy nexus, for instance through formal research or advisory committees. In other cases research-policy dialogues are much less institutionalised and take more informal and indirect forms, for example through personal networks, through the media, or through other ad-hoc channels.
Since we intend to study research-policy dialogues empirically, we do not sharply define at the outset what counts as ‘research’ or ‘knowledge’ within these dialogues. In fact, establishing what type of research or knowledge is produced and communicated in research-policy dialogues is an interesting empirical question. For instance, whether quantitative or qualitative-conceptual research is produced and used tells us something about the nature of the research-policy dialogue that is taking place. Conversely, the policy side of these dialogues is not monolithic either. Research and knowledge can be in demand at different locations and at different levels of government (national, regional, local, supra-national) for different purposes (policy development, implementation, evaluation or political debate). This has consequences for what is defined as relevant knowledge (which will be discussed in more detail in Sect. 1.2.3).
In our analytical approach we distinguish three aspects of research-policy dialogues. First, we will explore and analyse the concrete structures of research-policy dialogues (dialogue structures). These are the formal, and also the informal, arrangements through which knowledge is exchanged, and through which decisions on knowledge production and the relevance of knowledge for policy, are communicated. Secondly, we will look at cultures and practices of knowledge utilisation in policy processes (knowledge utilisation). Here we take the perspective of policymakers and analyse what role is assigned to researchers and what function is attributed to knowledge and research. Thirdly, taking the perspective of researchers, we will look at cultures of knowledge production in the field of migration research itself (knowledge production).
These three aspects of research-policy dialogues have been dealt with separately in the migration literature. In the area of dialogue structures, for example, Florence and Martiniello (2005), Geddes (2005), Penninx (2005), Scholten (2011a), and Thränhardt and Bommes (2010) have written variously about channels of communication in research-policy dialogues, such as research institutes, advisory bodies, expert committees and more informal networks. Boswell (2009) has focused on knowledge utilisation. The impact of policy on knowledge production has been treated by Favell (2003), Thränhardt and Bommes (2010), Vasta and Vuddamalay (2006), and Penninx (2005). However, the interconnections between these three aspects have not yet been dealt with. The key objective of this book is to bring together these literatures and explore how the relations between these three aspects can be conceptualised and analysed empirically.
Figure 1.1 shows the three aspects of research-policy dialogues and how these are interconnected. In the sections that follow we will elaborate all three – also in their interrelationships – and further develop the major hypotheses that will guide us throughout this book.
1.2.1 Dialogue Structures
The first key question here is how research-policy dialogues are structured. How are dialogues organised, in what venues do they take place, what types of actors are involved, what type of knowledge is communicated, and what issues are discussed?
In the sociology of science literature and in policy sciences, a number of ideal-type models of research-policy structures have been defined (see Hoppe 2005; Scholten 2011b). The enlightenment model (‘speaking truth to power’) is perhaps the one that comes closest to the ideal-typical image of the role that scientific research should have in policymaking. The enlightenment model postulates sharp boundaries between research and policy and assumes that scientific knowledge will eventually ‘creep’ into the policymaking process and thus (indirectly) determine how policymakers interpret and act upon policy problems. In contrast to the sharp boundaries of the enlightenment model, Hoppe (2005) formulates a technocratic model of research-policy relations, where researchers (‘experts’) are more directly involved in policymaking. In a technocracy, researchers do more than just provide knowledge. In short, they also frame policy problems and develop solutions; they come much closer to taking on the role of policymakers themselves.
Whereas both the enlightenment and the technocratic models assume that research-policy relations should be structured to give research a primary role in policymaking, alternative approaches like the engineering model and the bureaucratic model hold a firm belief in the primacy of politics in policymaking. The latter two models assume that research provides input to policymaking and political decision making while recognising that the outcomes of policymaking are also determined by other considerations, including values, norms and power. In the bureaucratic model, research is supposed to provide data (‘facts’) that are required by policymakers to develop policies and to reach decisions. This model assumes a sharp Weberian fact-value dichotomy between research and politics. The engineering model, by contrast, allows researchers a more far-reaching role in policymaking, while assuming, however, that politics keeps its primacy and is at liberty to select (‘pick-and-choose’) those strands of expertise that it sees fit.
Although these models are primarily based on the function that research and knowledge may have for policy and policymaking, they may also be used as heuristic devices for mapping differences between forms of dialogues, or even for comparing research-policy dialogues in different countries. They may also serve to map the dynamics of specific forms of dialogue structures within countries. The assumption then is that each model triggers specific forms of research-policy dialogue structures. Several studies have already indicated that significant differences exist between countries in terms of such structures as well as in their degrees of institutionalisation. Scholten (2011b), for instance, revealed that, whereas the Dutch research-policy nexus was strongly institutionalised in the period between 1980 and 1992, involving a very significant influence of research on policymaking (in the logic of the technocratic model), the French research-policy nexus involved more informal and personal networks between researchers and policymakers, with a much stronger primacy for politics (the bureaucratic model). Boswell and Hunter (2014) showed how in the UK case various independent commissions played an important role in research-policy dialogues. Systematic study of changes over time of research-policy structures from one model to another in the same context may shed light on the specific conditions under which these come into existence and disappear.
Favell (2003), Rath (2001), and Scholten (2011a) amongst others, have shown that in various cases migration scholars had a strong policy-orientation that led to a relatively high degree of institutionalisation of research-policy relations. Favell (2003) speaks even of a policy-orientation habitus. Scholten (2011a) shows how particular organisations were established to structure research-policy dialogues. These authors show that a depoliticised context provides a good breeding ground for institutionalisation of research-policy relations. In fact, Rath (2001) refers to a ‘technocratic symbiosis’ to depict a situation where researchers and policymakers jointly frame policies in a technocratic relationship not characterised by politicisation.
Several scholars, however, have argued that the current politicisation of migration has led to changes in specific research-policy dialogue structures (Florence and Martiniello 2005; Scholten and Verbeek 2014). On the basis of earlier studies on politicisation and research-policy dialogues, we hypothesise that the former will lead to a deconstruction of such institutionalised dialogue structures. We assume that these have become less direct, more public and open to more diverse participants, and also more ad-hoc. This leads us to the concrete hypothesis guiding this book, namely that politicisation leads to de-institutionalisation of existing research-policy relations (less direct, more open, more ad-hoc). Conversely we hypothesise that institutional relations will persist in contexts characterised by relatively low levels of politicisation.
1.2.2 Knowledge Utilisation
The second aspect of research-policy dialogues focuses specifically on the question of how knowledge is utilised in policymaking. Christina Boswell (2009; see also Chap. 2 in this volume) distinguishes different modes of knowledge utilisation. The most basic type involves the instrumental utilisation of knowledge and expertise, where research outcomes are directly taken as input for policymaking. It is this type of knowledge utilisation that is assumed in the notion of ‘evidence based policymaking’. In addition to instrumental use of knowledge, Boswell distinguishes two symbolic types of knowledge utilisation. Rather than being used as input for decision-making, knowledge can also have a substantiating function for policymakers, whereby favourable knowledge and expertise merely provide support for already-decided policies. Besides substantiating policy decisions, research can also have a plainly legitimising function for policy actors and institutions. This legitimising function of research and expertise does not refer to substantive research findings themselves, but to the mere symbolic act of mobilising knowledge and expertise in order to claim authority over a particular policy domain or issue (see also Caponio et al. 2014 and Scholten and Timmermans 2010).
Boswell’s landmark work on knowledge utilisation in migration policymaking in the United Kingdom, Germany and the EU (Boswell 2009) alludes to various important contextual factors that may help explain why, where and when a specific type of knowledge utilisation emerges. For instance, her examination of the European Migration Network revealed that this organisation primarily served to substantiate EU migration policies in the context of the fierce politicisation of this issue at the European level. In addition, her British and German case studies point to the relevance of the organisational structure of the policy domain. She claims, for instance, that the fragmented and contested nature of the migration policy domain in Germany helps explain why the role of the BAMF (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees) was mostly substantiating rather than instrumental or legitimising (see also Chap. 11 in this volume for a slightly different perspective on the BAMF’s role in the German case).
Interestingly, Boswell’s case studies suggest that we should study knowledge utilisation and policy-research structures at two different levels. On the one hand, there is the more generic level of national cultures of knowledge utilisation, with different traditions in the UK and Germany for example, that may explain the frequent incidence of certain forms of policy-research dialogues. On the other hand, the particular culture and practices in a specific domain and a specific institution may in reality turn out to be quite different from what one may expect on the basis of national cultures and traditions. For instance, whereas the specific British case revealed a great interest in policymaking based on knowledge and evidence, in reality research mostly served substantiating purposes rather than having a legitimising or instrumental role. Boswell’s exploration of these contextual factors further underlines the necessity of more conceptual and empirical work that connects knowledge utilisation to the issue of how research-policy relations are structured in the first place.
What could the possible effects of politicisation be on utilisation of knowledge and on research-policy dialogues? Following Boswell’s typology of knowledge uses and our observation that technocratic modes of dialogues are often associated with direct instrumental forms of knowledge utilisation, we formulate as the second hypothesis for our empirical analyses that, when issues like migrant integration become politicised, such technocratic structures and instrumental forms of knowledge utilisation are less likely to emerge and to survive. Instead we would then expect rather symbolic forms of knowledge utilisation, substantiating as well as legitimising ones.
1.2.3 Knowledge Production
The third aspect focuses on the relation between knowledge production and research-policy dialogues: how does knowledge production influence such dialogues and, vice versa, how do dialogues affect migrant integration research itself? Research-policy dialogues can create opportunity structures for specific researchers, with specific research programmes and institutes in turn emerging and influencing policy (see Jasanoff 2005; Entzinger and Scholten 2014; Penninx 1988). In the longer run, however, there may also be a significant influence in the opposite direction. Strongly institutionalised relations with policymaking institutions may affect the structural characteristics of migration research as a research field. They may influence the extent of consensus or fragmentation in a research field. For instance, the strongly institutionalised relationship between research and policymaking in the Netherlands and Sweden in the 1980s provided a dominant position for specific dialogue structures and their participants (such as ACOM and EIFO/DEIFO respectively) and thereby created a ‘consensus’ in research on migrant integration in that period (Penninx 2005; Hammar 2004). In contrast, recent studies show that opportunity structures in this domain have become much more diverse, which has contributed to a fragmentation of the research field. We hypothesise that this is an effect, at least to some extent, of the rapid politicisation of migrant integration.
Beyond such effects on the structure of the research field (which have received relatively little attention), various scholars have also pointed to more substantive impacts on ‘knowledge production’, recognisable in methodological, theoretical and disciplinary developments. For example, Thränhardt and Bommes (2010) claim that research-policy dialogues have hampered the theoretical development of migration research. In particular, they claim that migration research uses the nation state as a ‘constitutive frame’ for the study of migration. This has hampered the rise of a more critical approach to the nation state and has stressed ‘the social importance’ of solving integration as a problem of the nation rather than conceptualising and theorising immigration and integration from a more scientific perspective (ibid: 30). In the same vein, Favell (2003) claims that the strong policy orientation of research has contributed to the rise of what he calls the ‘integration paradigm’. Wimmer and Glick Schiller (2002) refer to comparable biases in migration research, coining the term ‘methodological nationalism’. In their view, ‘nation state building processes have fundamentally shaped the ways immigration has been perceived and received. These perceptions have in turn influenced, though not completely determined, social science theory and methodology and, more specifically, its discourse on immigration and integration’ (Wimmer and Glick Schiller 2002: 301–302).
Related to Bommes and Thränhardt’s argument about the field’s poor theoretical development and Favell’s critique of the exclusive focus on integration within the nation state, it has been claimed that migration researchers have (co-)produced specific national models of integration. Such models have incorporated specific national and historically rooted definitions, interpretations and frames of immigrant integration, as, for example, the French Republican model, the British Race-Relations model, or the Ethnic-Minorities paradigm in the Netherlands in the 1980s (Rath 2001). Many scholars have argued that research-policy dialogues have been structured around such specific models within exclusively national settings. For instance, Bertossi (2011; see also Bertossi et al., Chap. 4 in this volume) shows how French migration scholars have tended to reproduce the French Republican model. Similarly, Thränhardt and Bommes (2010) show how research-policy dialogues in Germany have thus far evolved largely around the institutions of the German welfare state.
Partly as a reaction to the tendencies of migration researchers to confine themselves to national framings, there has been an undeniable upsurge of international comparative research in the field of migration and integration, especially over the past decade. Emerging international research networks such as IMISCOE have triggered this,Footnote 1 but it has also been strongly supported by the European Commission’s Directorate General (DG) for Research and Innovation (for instance through the European Framework Programmes) and other EU funds (European Integration Fund, European Refugees Fund and European Social Fund: see also Chap. 16 in this volume). Stimulated by DG Research, a number of national research funding agencies within the EU have also started to jointly fund cross-national research, via the NORFACE programme. In the 2009–2013 period this programme focused on migration and integration in Europe. This new direction of research has in turn led to more explicit criticisms of national models of integration and to the rise of transnationalist and post-nationalist perspectives on immigrant integration. Interestingly, as Geddes (2005: 267) argues, the substantial and growing involvement of European institutions in (the funding of) research in this field has contributed to the characterisation of migration and integration as ‘problems of Europe’ (see also Geddes and Scholten 2014).
Knowledge production can of course involve very different ‘types’ of knowledge, such as conceptual or theoretical research, applied research, statistical analyses, policy analysis (including policy evaluation and policy-oriented studies), or more personalised and experience-based expressions of ‘expertise.’ In the field of migration research, all of these knowledge types are present. However, the type of knowledge that is mobilised in research-policy dialogues is very much context-dependent (see also Entzinger and Scholten 2014). For instance, in technocratic sessions one may expect more applied research and policy analyses as well as calls upon specific forms of expertise, whereas the idea of ‘enlightenment’ often speaks more to conceptual or theoretical forms of knowledge production. This speaks to the broader assumption in this book that knowledge production, knowledge utilisation and research-policy dialogue configurations are inherently connected.
One of these types of knowledge seems to have become particularly important in the field of migration research: administrative data. Most countries have well-developed programmes in place for gathering data on migration and integration issues, but the data gathered by institutions are often national in the sense that the target groups are defined by national territory or jurisdiction and nationally specific in their framing or content. This makes cross-national comparisons difficult.
Following the institutionalisation of migration and integration policies throughout Europe, a greater demand has emerged for comparative quantitative data for monitoring and evaluation purposes. Large-scale EU-funded projects, such as COMPSTAT and PROMINSTAT have systematically mapped national data systems on migration and integration and assessed their comparability. European statistical agencies, particularly Eurostat, have been charged with standardising existing national systems to improve their comparability, as well as with designing new ones to replace or complement these. The MIPEX programme to establish comparative indicators on migration policies is another example at the EU level (Huddleston and Niessen 2011). Although such efforts may be defined as technical exercises to attain better comparability, it is also clear that they serve the political goal of stimulating policy convergence through soft means of coordination. In this sense, one might say that such efforts to quantitatively ‘measure’ migration and integration policies (and their outcomes) with administrative data encounter the same conceptual problems as qualitative research (Favell 2003). Determining what to measure, how to measure it and how to interpret data have become central issues of discussion in various countries (see Chap. 3 by Kraler et al. in this book).
Having recognised the mutual influence that research-policy dialogues can have both on policy and on developments within the field of migration research itself (e.g. reproducing specific national models of integration), we can now elaborate some expectations about what will happen in a politicised situation. First, we expect that co-production of knowledge is more likely to come into existence and be sustained in depoliticised settings rather than politicised ones. A depoliticised setting seems to be a condition for sustaining certain structural arrangements, such as subsidising specific research centres or accepting and privileging one specific frame of migrant integration. Turning this argument around, we expect that in a more politicised context a de-institutionalisation of research-policy dialogues is likely to take place. Furthermore, we expect the growing internationalisation of research to challenge ‘national models of integration’, leading to a fragmentation of research within and across academic disciplines and into more heterogeneous schools of thought. Thus, we expect politicisation, along with certain other trends just described, to contribute to knowledge diversification and, consequently, to more frequent (and more intense) knowledge conflicts.
It is important to acknowledge that the foregoing observations are primarily based on a number of countries that have a longer immigration history and therefore a longer history of policy-research dialogues, at least potentially. It may be interesting to ask the same questions for relatively new immigration countries, such as Southern European countries that were first faced with large-scale immigration in the 1990s, and similarly for the Central and East European countries that introduced the EU policy regime for migration and integration only after their accession to the EU in 2004. Since most of these countries (still) have low immigration and lack historically rooted national models of integration, we will be able to observe how research-policy relations and structures have evolved there from their very beginning. This is why in this volume we include not only ‘traditional’ immigration countries in the North and West of Europe, but also Italy as relatively new immigration country, and Poland, which has a long experience of emigration, but which hosts only small numbers of immigrants.