HomeMigrants in European cities: re-shaping urban spaces?

HomeMigrants in European cities: re-shaping urban spaces?

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Published on Tuesday, September 17, 2019


This conference aims to bring together researchers specialized in the study of migrations in Europe, with a focus on the urban and social impacts of migrants’ settlement  in European cities and a preference for bottom-up and longitudinal approaches. A fieldwork visit will be organized for the conference participants as well as a roundtable with local political and associative actors.



In recent years, migrations have become a challenging issue for European countries, especially for metropolises attracting migrants from various areas in the world. Indeed, in urban conurbations, migratory influx contributes to the development of reception areas that are marked by their "ethnic" components. In these areas, migrants of many nationalities, often recently arrived, group together to live and develop their own cultural, religious or economic activities (Ma Mung, 2006; Ebilitigué, 2014; Ma Mung, 2016). The conference aims to analyze if the impact of migrations on local spaces is configuring "ethnoburbs" (Li, 2008), "multicultural" (Martiniello, 1997; Perez-Agate, Tejerina, Barañano, 2010) or "multiethnic" neighbourhoods (Raulin, 2000; Levitt & Glick-Schiller, 2003; Capone, 2008; Thibaud, 2015); or on the contrary, contributing to the formation of "mono-ethnic" or strongly segregated spaces and neighbourhoods from an ethnic or national point of view, due to either the hyper-concentration of a particular migrant group or the segregation of the autochthonous population with respect to migrants.

At the finer intra-urban scale, what are the factors which contribute to these types of settlement processes rather than others? How do these populations choose where to settle? How are economic activities linked to such migration processes? How do households coming from abroad try to get involved in the city by means of associations, of politics? How do urban policies at a local scale face these new dynamics? How are the migrants integrated? Such interrogations need to draw on different fields of research: urban sociology, social geography, economic geography, political studies, urban planning, cultural studies and gender studies.

Topic 1: Data comparison

The first topic aims to compare the data on migrations and immigrants available in the different European countries, from the national to the local level. While it is possible to describe these phenomena using statistical data, it is much more difficult to fully understand them. How and by whom are statistical data produced, collected, stored, exploited and shared in the respect of ethical issues? Do we observe different norms and practices among the European countries?

Topic 2: Migrants’ settlement and residential strategies

The second topic will concern immigrants’ residential locations and the channels through which these populations arrive at them. Assuming that the residential settlements of migrants are the result of choices made by micro-actors (Wang, 2017), these being the individuals and families in question, we will seek to understand, through quantitative and qualitative approaches (Bréant, 2012; Ministère de l'Intérieur, 2017), the factors that contribute to reinforcing these groupings and initiating spatial diffusion.

Topic 3: Migrants’ economic activities and cities’ economic mutations

The third topic concerns the relationship between migrants’ residential settlements in European cities and the economic activities they develop. The settlement of migrant populations encourages the appearance of new activities and functions that can transform the urban landscape to a greater or lesser extent ("ethnic" restaurants or shops, telephone points, places of worship, etc.). These individuals (or groups) also help organize complex networks and structure multi-scaled interactions (between here and elsewhere). This contributes to generating significant economic development, even if it is not as visible and symbolic as with multinational companies (Chojnicki, 2015).

Topic 4: Interculturality and citizenship

The aim of the fourth topic is to produce a comparative overview of the socio-cultural dimension of migrants’ integration in various European cities. Three main dimensions may be privileged: 1) interethnic and intra-ethnic relations of migrant groups with other inhabitants and between them, highlighting also gender and age relations; 2) their effects in reshaping local welfare and local citizenship; 3) the impact of all these processes, and of multilevel policies, mainly local and urban policies, on the integration of migrant groups at the neighbourhood scale and in their city. We will also consider their implications for the transformation of physical spaces and the representations and images of the neighbourhoods.

Topic 5: Multiscale integration policies

The fifth topic aims to assess multiscale integration policies (European, national and local) towards migrants with regards to migrants’ settlement and contribution to cities. In which ways do they enable or not migrants’ social inclusion in the cities and neighborhoods where they settled? This must involve understanding the mechanisms which lead to forms of conglomerations based on nationality or a feeling of belonging to a community.

Practical arrangements

The conference will sponsor accommodation in Paris for selected participants; however, no funding is available for international travel.

Registration details and schedule

  • A paper title and abstract (up to 20 lines) and a few lines of author information in English is to be uploaded on this dedicated website: web.u-cergy.fr/migrantsineuropeancities/call-for-papers/
  • The selected participants will be notified by 22 November 2019
  • The final papers (up to 8000 words) should be sent by March 2020


  • MRTE Research Center (Didier Desponds), University of Cergy-Pontoise
  • AGORA Research Center (Diana Burgos-Vigna and Aurore Merle), University of Cergy-Pontoise

Supported by

  • Initiative d’excellence Paris-Seine
  • Fondation UCP

Scientific Committee 

  • Abdoul Hameth Ba (Evry University, France)
  • Peter Balogh (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Margarita Barañano Cid (Complutense university of Madrid, Spain)
  • Pierre Bergel (Caen-Normandie University, France)
  • Teresa Costa Pinto (ISCTE, Portugal)
  • Didier Desponds (Cergy-Pontoise University, France)
  • Pierre Kamden (Poitiers University, France)
  • Jesús Leal Maldonado (Complutense university of Madrid, Spain)
  • Tim Leibert (Leibniz Ifl, Germany)
  • Béla Soltesz (Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary)
  • Jacques Teller (University of Liège, Belgium)
  • Karin Wiest (Leibniz Ifl, Germany)


  • Gennevilliers, France (92)


  • Friday, November 22, 2019


  • migration, city


  • Didier Desponds
    courriel : didier [dot] desponds [at] u-cergy [dot] fr
  • laure cazeaux
    courriel : laure [dot] cazeaux [at] u-cergy [dot] fr

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Didier Desponds
    courriel : didier [dot] desponds [at] u-cergy [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Migrants in European cities: re-shaping urban spaces? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, https://calenda.org/669597

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