CfP: 15th Annual IMISCOE Conference, Div/Mig/Soc Session on Social Networks

‘‘Europe, migrations and the Mediterranean: human mobilities and intercultural challenges’’

Session: Social networks in migration studies: theories, methods and research results

Organisers: IMISCOE Research Group “Diversity, Migration and Social Cohesion (Div/Mig/Soc)”

Dr Marta Kindler (Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw) & Dr Aneta Piekut (Sheffield Methods Institute, University of Sheffield)

A substantial number of studies mention social networks’ function in facilitating mobility from one country to another or to multiple destinations, and a relatively large number of authors discuss thoroughly social networks’ role in the migration decision-making process (see for example Light and von Scheven 2008, Massey et al. 2014, McKenzie and Rapoport 2010, Palloni, Massey et al. 2001, Riosmena and Massey 2012, van Meeteren and Pereira 2013, White and Ryan 2008, Olwig 2012, Vasta and Kaandilige 2010). Already over two decades ago, Cases and Gurak (1992) pointed in their comprehensive literature review to a growing body of literature on networks’ function in adaptation in the country of destination. They distinguish between the networks’ role in short run adjustment and the integration into main institutions in society in the long run. In the last decade, research on neighbourhoods provides results on the role of migrants’ social capital in social cohesion, with social networks treated as a component of social capital (Lancee and Dronkers 2011, Vervoort 2012, Górny and Toruńczyk 2013, Laurence 2013).

The session “Social networks in migration studies” will provide an opportunity to exchange reflections on the participants’ theoretical and methodological aspects of studies, as well as research results, focusing on the role of social networks in migrants’ adaptation and everyday functioning.

This session invites presentations on the following topics:

  • Social networks’ character: the case of migrants and non-migrants
  • The role of network resources in migrant adaptation, with a critical analysis of bridging/bonding social capital
  • The role of social networks in integration of persons engaged in internal and external mobility, with a critical analysis of the notion of integration
  • Social networks, ethnic diversity and community cohesion
  • The issue of network boundaries and access to resources
  • International comparisons of social networks’ dynamic, including Mediterranean societies

We welcome submissions from a broad range of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches.

Please submit an abstract to and by the 10th of December 2017. Abstracts of app. 250 words should include authors’ names, a title, the presenter(s) institutional affiliation(s) and contact details. The author(s) of accepted abstracts will be notified in February 2018.

More information about the conference is available here:

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14th Annual IMISCOE Conference & Div/Mig/Soc Session ‘Social Cohesion – Revisited’

Panel: Social cohesion revisited – community cohesion and ethnic diversity

Chair: Aneta Piekut (Sheffield Methods Institute, University of Sheffield, UK)

Div/Mig/Soc Research Group met for the forth time, and this time for a panel session during the 14th Annual Conference of IMISCOE, 28-30 June, in Rotterdam. The session ambition was to critically reflect on the current ways of studying and measuring social cohesion.

The speakers included:

  • Conrad Ziller presented a paper written with Hans-Jürgen Andreß (both University of Cologne, Gemany) entitled ‘Ethnic diversity, institutional capacity, and social cohesion in European cities’ extending current social cohesion research by looking at the citizens satisfaction with urban services.
  • David Bartram (University of Leicester, UK) in his talk ‘Social cohesion and natives’ happiness: What is the real “threat” posed by immigration?’ provoked some heated debate in relation to the undertaken by him happiness-studies perspective on attitudes towards immigration.
  • Monique Borsenberger (University College London, UK, and Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research) presented a novel conceptualisation of social cohesion in a paper entitled ‘Values of social cohesion and their evolution in a multicultural society. The case of Luxembourg, 1999-2008’.


Finally, James Laurence (Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research and the Department of Sociology, University of Manchester, UK) as a discussant wrapped up the session by pointing to the complexities of measuring social cohesion and interplay – as well as a related analytical challenge – between indicators of ‘perceived’ and ‘actual’ nature.


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CfP: 14th Annual IMISCOE Conference, Div/Mig/Soc Session on Social Cohesion



Session: Social cohesion revisited – community cohesion and ethnic diversity

Organiser: IMISCOE Research Group “Diversity, Migration and Social Cohesion (Div/Mig/Soc)”

Chair: Aneta Piekut (Sheffield Methods Institute, the University of Sheffield)

Social cohesion is usually understood as a sense of belonging, having a common vision of the community and strong relations with other community members (Cantle 2005; Demireva 2015). Yet, the vision(s) of community cohesion can be very different in increasingly multicultural societies, where some cities are even called ‘super-diverse’ (Vertovec, 2007), and more people express complex ethnic identities (Nandi, Platt 2014).

There has been recently a plethora of studies investigating how social cohesion is related to ethnic diversity for different ethnic groups (Van der Meer, Tolsma 2014), what increasing diversity and changing ethnic composition of communities means for their social cohesion in its various dimensions: common values, social order and control social solidarity; social networks and social capital and place attachment (Forrest, Kearns 2001). Yet, the link between identity(ies) and social cohesion has not been explored (an exception is a study by Schmid and colleagues (2013)). Although many national and international surveys include questions about different aspects of social cohesion, we would like to discuss in the session whether these measures still work (i.e. are valid measures) in times of increased international mobility and urban population sorting. It might be that interpersonal trust or common values are differently perceived by local communities in times of global mobility and super-diversity.

This session invites papers on the following topics:

– Theoretical conceptualisations of social cohesion;

– Measuring social cohesion in quantitative studies, e.g. concept internationalisation and validity, reliability of measurement scales;

– Exploration of social cohesion in qualitative studies: mundane understanding of social cohesion, tensions around and solutions for different visions of community cohesion, etc.;

– Challenges for social cohesion of urban communities: population mobility and sorting;

– Differences in social cohesion dynamic between urban and rural communities;

– Cross-national comparisons of social cohesion conceptualisations;

– The relationship between social cohesion and complex ethnic identities (dual and multiple-identities);

– Public and policy understandings of social cohesion.

We welcome submissions from a broad range of theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, and geographical locations.

Please submit an abstract to by 5th of December 2016. Abstracts of up to 250 words should include a title, the presenter(s) institutional affiliation(s) and contact details. The author(s) of accepted abstracts will be notified in January 2017.

More information about the conference is available here:

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13th Annual IMISCOE Conference & Div/Mig/Soc Session on Perceived Ethnic Diversity

Div/Mig/Soc Research Group met again for a panel session during the 13th Annual Conference of IMISCOE, 30 June – 2 July 2016. This time we discussed our latest work on perceived diversity and social cohesion (session 11).

  • The session was opened by James Laurence (Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Change/Sociology, University of Manchester) and myself, with a presentation discussing emerging research results on the relationship between perceived local diversity and attitudes towards immigration, based on data from the latest round of European Social Survey.
  • Nare Galstyan (Graduate School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan) discussed complexities of ethnic diversity and in- and out-group perceptions using a case study of the Armenian community in the Netherlands.
  • Sabina Toruńczyk-Ruiz (Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw) summarised her PhD research findings on perceived social diversity and neighbourhood attachment which utilised evidence from Warsaw, Poland. She demonstrated how different dimensions of diversity – ethnic, socioeconomic and demographic – bring different implications for place attachment.
  • Thomas de Vroome (ERCOMER, Utrecht University) presented research project ideas in a talk entitled “Relations between perceived ethnic diversity, perceived immigrant threat and perceived immigrant potential”. While the threat perspective dominates in the studies of inter-ethnic perceptions, he pointed to the equal importance of positive associations of diversity.


Photo source: IMISCOE.

Discussion was led by Agata Górny (Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw) and joined by many session participants.


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XVI Polish Sociological Congress Gdańsk 14-17.09.2016

XVI Polish Sociological Congress Gdańsk 14-17.09.2016

Theme: “Solidarity in Times of Distrust”

For more information please go to the conference webpage:

Full Call for Papers includes sessions in English language:

I am co-organising a session in Polish language with dr. Aleksandra Winiarska on inter-cultural conflicts, ethnic and religious prejudice and solidarity in times of increased social tensions. Deadline for submitting abstracts is 31 March 2016. Abstracts are to be submitted via the conference webpage.

G68: Współczesne konflikty międzykulturowe z perspektywy socjologicznej


Dr Aleksandra Winiarska, Instytut Stosowanych Nauk Społecznych, Uniwersytet Warszawski, aa.winiarska(a) (osoba do kontaktu)
Dr Aneta Piekut, Sheffield Methods Institute, University of Sheffield

Napływ migrantów i uchodźców do Unii Europejskiej z krajów Afryki i Bliskiego Wschodu – zwany obecnie kryzysem migracyjnym lub uchodźczym – to zjawisko złożone, zarówno jeśli chodzi o przyczyny, jak i realne oraz potencjalne skutki. Wzmożony kontakt ludzi z różnych grup kulturowych i etnicznych, szczególnie w sytuacji niepewności finansowej czy deprywacji społeczno-ekonomicznej, może prowadzić do nieufności oraz istotnego osłabienia społecznej solidarności. Również zachodzące procesy demograficzne, takie jak starzenie się społeczeństwa czy (sub)urbanizacja, przyczyniają się do wzrostu postrzeganych zagrożeń w wyniku zmian w redystrybucji zasobów społecznych. Mogą one skutkować rozwijaniem uprzedzeń wobec grup mniejszościowych – w szczególności etnicznych czy religijnych – oraz ujawnianiem się napięć społecznych wokół dostępu do zasobów oraz akceptowanych wartości.
W ramach grupy tematycznej proponujemy przyjrzeć się zjawisku współczesnych konfliktów międzykulturowych przez pryzmat analizy socjologicznej i antropologicznej. Jako konflikty międzykulturowe rozumiemy tu zarówno konflikty między konkretnymi grupami religijnymi, etnicznymi czy migranckimi, jak również konflikty wokół wartości w sferze dyskursu. Tematykę konfliktu definiujemy zatem szeroko, uwzględniając również spory o charakterze symbolicznym czy w obszarze debaty publicznej. Interesują nas zarówno realnie istniejące konflikty, jak i te o charakterze potencjalnym czy wyobrażonym, zarówno w społeczeństwach i kontekstach ̳super-różnorodnych‘ (Europa Zachodnia), jak i tych bardziej homogenicznych pod względem narodowym i etnicznym (Europa Środkowo-Wschodnia). Zachęcamy również do dyskusji nad podobieństwami i różnicami tych kontekstów.
Przykładowe tematy wystąpień w ramach grupy mogą obejmować takie kwestie jak:
– Źródła konfliktów / przebieg konfliktów / sposoby ich rozwiązywania
– Uczestnicy konfliktów / podejmowane działania i ich znaczenie symboliczne
– Konflikty wokół wartości / symboli religijnych
– Konflikty w sferze dyskursu / w mediach (np. debaty o obecności uchodźców / migrantów w UE) i reprezentacja konfliktu w sferze publicznej
– Sposoby konstruowania dyskursu / budowane opozycje / argumenty
– Problematyka stereotypów / uprzedzeń / dyskryminacji, w tym rozwój islamofobii i antysemityzmu
– Grupowe strategie budowania solidarności społecznej w sytuacji rosnących napięć międzykulturowych, w tym budowanie niechęci do grup mniejszościowych
– Sposoby zarządzania konfliktami / potencjalnymi konfliktami, w tym również polityki integracji społecznej

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CFP: 13th Annual IMISCOE Conference, Div/Mig/Soc Session on Perceived Ethnic Diversity

Call for Papers

Session: Perceived ethnic diversity: empirical results, theoretical issues, methodological approaches

Organiser: IMISCOE Research Group “Diversity, Migration and Social Cohesion (Div/Mig/Soc)”
Chair: Aneta Piekut (Sheffield Methods Institute, the University of Sheffield)

Recently, there has been an increasing number of studies on the relationship between diversity and neighbourhood relations, attitudes and social cohesion This research has mostly relied on measures of objective diversity, i.e. such obtained in official statistics on the population composition. Yet, ethnic diversity is not only factual, measured by demographic indicators, but some differences are more visible, perceptible, pronounced and acknowledged, depending on historical and societal contexts, as well as on the dominant public narratives (i.e. in politics or the media). Research demonstrates that not only actual diversity, but also the perceived level of diversity is associated with intergroup relations, i.e. prejudice, social distance and trust (e.g. Strabac 2011; Hooghe & Vroome 2013; Schaeffer, 2014).

Whilst ethnic actual diversity is measured using available demographic data and ethnic categories, ethnic perceived diversity is socially constructed in everyday interactions. People draw demarcation lines between particular social groups and categories, classifying certain groups as dominant ones, i.e. the majority population, and some groups as ‘different’. As such, the conceptual status, as well the measurement of perceived diversity is a challenging task for scholars. Who and why is perceived as different, and why some areas are perceived as more diverse than others, and what are the consequences of these perceptions – are important questions that should be investigated by social scientists.

This session invites papers on the following topics:

– Theoretical conceptualizations of perceived diversity;

– Measuring perceived diversity at different levels: neighbourhood, regional, national;

– The relationship of perceived diversity with measures of actual diversity (e.g. diversity indexes);

– Perceived diversity and other perceptual measures: perceived otherness, perceived similarity, perceived outgroup size;

– The relationship of perceived diversity with social cohesion, e.g. attitudes, trust, voluntary participation, social relations;

– Determinants of perceived diversity;

– Causality and endogeneity problems in studying perceived diversity.

We welcome submissions from a broad range of theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches, and geographical locations.

Submission of abstracts:

Please submit an abstract to by 25 of January 2016. Abstracts of up to 250 words should include a title, the presenter(s) institutional affiliation(s) and contact details. Author(s) of accepted abstracts will be notified in the last week of February 2016.

Information about the conference is available here:

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Div/Mig/Soc meets again at the 12th IMISCOE Conference, 25-27 June, Geneva

Div/Mig/Soc Research Group met for a panel session during the 12th Annual Conference of IMISCOE, 25-27 June 2015, Geneva. The session “Diversity and Social Cohesion: New Approaches in Studies of Ethnic Diversity” brought scholars who study ethnic diversity and its relationship with different aspects of social cohesion. All presentations focused on an attitudinal dimension of group connectedness. Still, it is worth remembering that social cohesion is a very broad term and it also includes different forms of social interactions and ties (social relations), social capital, which also entails voluntary participation, and inter-group trust. As the ‘Diversity, Migration and Social Cohesion’ Research Group discussed last year, there are plenty of limitations in this field of research, which contribute to the mixed results. Especially now, when the research on impacts of ethnic diversity is ‘replicated’ in different countries, but using different methods, the inconclusiveness of previous studies becomes even more apparent.

The three presentations spoke to the main question of the session – what are the new directions for research on ethnic diversity and social cohesion?

Josef KohlbacherJosef Kohlbacher*, Ursula Reeger and Philipp Schnell* (Austrian Academy of Science) presented a paper entitled “Attitudes towards immigrants in five European cities. Interethnic ties as moderating factors between ethnic diversity and attitude formation”, based on the GEITONIES project survey data from five European cities.Their paper introduced the importance of the various types of contact between minority and minority groups for improvement of anti-immigration sentiments. The paper also argued that the type of contact plays a different role for ‘native’ and ‘immigrant’ groups in shaping their attitudes.

DSC_1541James Laurence (Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Change/Sociology, University of Manchester) spoke about „Ethnic Diversity, Segregation and Social Cohesion: the moderating role of segregation in the effect of diversity on trust, out-group attitudes and inter-ethnic contact”. ‘Diversity’ has become a term heavily overused and used in different meanings by scholars and in public/political discourse and it is very often equalled with ‘segregation’. The paper makes a contribution to the debate by looking at the intersection of exposure to ethnic diversity and the level of ethnic segregation. For this paper James received the Rinus Penninx Best Paper Award at the conference. Congratulations!

The paper authored by Aneta Piekut* and Gill Valentine (University of Sheffield) – entitled “Intra-urban geography of attitudes: Geo-demographic classification of urban communities and attitudes towards minority groups” – offered a different approach to studying ‘diversity effects’. Aneta Piekut presented results of ‘Living with Difference’ research, which was based in Leeds, UK, and Warsaw, Poland.  Recognising the importance of other ‘diversities’, i.e. socio-economic inequality, generational differences and health conditions, she proposed using a typology of spatial communities (‘diversity clusters’) instead of diversity indicators to investigate the contextual effects of intersecting social diversities.


The presentations were critically summarised by Agata Górny (University of Warsaw), who teased out the most important points for a discussion.The session was well attended, by app. 25 people.

In sum, the Div/Mig/Soc group session offered a stimulating discussion on the possible new directions for diversity studies in terms of conceptual approaches and applied methods. Ethnic diversity is only one aspect of processes related to social composition that can affect social cohesion,  but we cannot forget other processes, such as spatial concentration, exposure and segregation. Finally, not all meaningful interactions occur in the neighbourhood. While focusing on residential areas is justified when neighbourhood-related indicators such as e.g. trust towards neighbours are studied, in case of more general processes, research on ‘diversity effects’ should take into account other spaces of encounter or wider social networks, including online networks.

(*Presenting authors; All photos taken by Aneta Piekut®; (AP))

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