Reflecting on Spatiality in European Migration Research: From Methodological Nationalism to Space-Sensitive Observations of Social Transformations

  • Elisabeth ScheibelhoferEmail author
Part of the IMISCOE Research Series book series (IMIS)


The ongoing struggle in social sciences with methodological nationalism especially within migration research shows that a reflection of spatiality is needed as spatial relations are a product of social inequality and differing power relations. Simultaneously, these spatial relations are producing and reproducing social and economic inequalities. Therefore, this contribution starts by outlining the discourse on methodological nationalism followed by a short introduction on spatially sensible methodologies. On this basis, the situation within Europe is examined. The contribution highlights four key driving processes in which migration and spatiality are interrelated in Europe with consequences for social transformation: First, the processes related to European integration have led to new spaces of potential migration. For EU citizens, possibilities for migration have opened up through, for example, the principle of free movement of persons, while for others access to the EU has been restricted. This restriction is directly linked to the second strategic process by the EU regulating non-EU immigration. The migration-specific relations of the EU with non-EU nation states have led to changes to the European migration regime. The EU enlargement as the third major process has changed the borders of the EU several times, differentiating migratory rights according to the political constraints put in place by some of the EU member states. The fourth major process concerning migrant space-making involves the change of spatialities as a result of the activities of migrants themselves. Transnational migration and the specific pathways of migrant incorporation within the EU borders have led to the creation of new spaces that permit migration.


Asylum Seeker Migration Research Circular Migration Immigration Scheme European Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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