Research Areas

The three core research themes – Citizenship, Migration and the City – are investigated both in their own right and through the prism of their interrelation. CIMIC has leading international expertise on irregular migration, transnationalism, urban governance, the impact of international migration on urban labour markets, and processes of gentrification.

The aim of CIMIC is to, on the one hand, contribute to the development of new theoretical and empirical approaches to research on citizenship, migration and the urban environment, while on the other hand, to assist local, national and international policy makers in developing appropriate, timely and relevant policies.  Also, we strive to enhance the link between research and policy-making.


In the late 20th and early 21st century, as globalization intensifies the mobility of goods, capital and persons, nation-states witness threats to their continued existence. Their significance changes as their role vis-à-vis markets and inter- and supranational legal bodies changes, and their borders become more porous both for the mobility of capital and of persons. The later process entails readjustments of citizenship criteria, and it is in part through such recalibrations of national citizenship requirements and entitlements that nation-states try to adapt to 'global society' or 'second modernity'. CIMIC has two topical priorities for the research on citizenship: (i) The imagination of the social space of the EU by the surveillance of global flows of persons, notably irregular migrants, by means of specialized EU-databases; (ii) the neo-liberal and communitarian transformation of (migrant) integration policies: the shift from formal to moral citizenship.


CIMIC studies new patterns of international migration, such as labour migration from Central and Eastern Europe and highly-skilled migration. Of particular interest is the power of the state to define differential opportunities ('civic stratification') for different categories of migrants, such as former guest workers, irregular migrants, asylum seekers, and low-skilled and highly-skilled labour migrants. Another theoretical interest is the systemic nature of international migration flows. Furthermore, CIMIC is involved in extensive research on integration, especially on successful migrants ('elite formation'), the interactions between transnationalism and integration, and the (semi-) incorporation of categories of regular and irregular labour migrants in advanced societies. Finally, CIMIC studies the differential involvement of categories of migrants in crime.

The City

The fault lines of contemporary globalization are most visible in cities. In cities we find cutting edge economic activities like advanced producer services and the creative industries. But they are also places where informal and illegitimate economic activities thrive. Urban areas are thus strategic sites for sociological research. CIMIC analyses general urban transformations through detailed empirical research on the dynamics behind ethnic and social segregation, the use of public space by different groups of residents, the local consequences of economic restructuring, and processes of gentrification. Furthermore, we scrutinize how the government attempts to regulate and steer urban development.