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Migration and Translocal Relations

Lead universities: UoC, UWC, JNU and SYSU

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lindner (UoC)
Prof. Dr. Michaela Pelican (UoC)
Prof. Dr. Patricia Hayes (UWC)
Prof. Dr. Ajay Dubey (JNU)
Prof. Dr. Li Xi Yuan (SYSU)


This field is concerned with understanding the multiple shapes of migration dynamics and the ensuing translocal relations. The diversified, multi-directional and increasing mobility of people is characteristic of a rapidly evolving global system.

In this research cluster, the focus is on the acceleration and densification of domestic mobility as well as the dynamics of transnational migration. We will look at local-to-local interactions between “cultural sites” (Olwig 1997), i.e. places, where particular flows converge. A special focus of this research area, therefore, rests on the impact of migration on the home and host areas (Tevera and Chikanda, 2009 for Zimbabwe) and on the gender issues around migration (Dodson et al., 2008 for Southern Africa, Pun Ngai 2005 for China).

The relation between established diasporas and new labour migrants is of particular interest. The dynamics of gender relations and social differentiation within migrant societies call for a comparative perspective that takes the historical interplay of home and host societies into account.


We intend to conduct research and to exchange expertise pertaining to theories, methods and empirical cases on such often highly mobile communities, their origins and their continuing transformation (Pelican 2011). To develop a better understanding of the mobility of people and the direct and indirect feedback mechanisms “that operate through the impact of migration on the sending and receiving contexts” (De Haas 2010: 1587) we will critically engage with and advance pertinent methodological developments and research perspectives, particularly with multi-site ethnographic research (Marcus 2009) and translocality (Greiner & Sakdapolrak, 2013b).