Migration and Forced Displacement

The United Nations stated in June 2023 that the number of forcibly displaced persons had reached a new high of 110 million.

BICC conducts empirical research dealing with the mobility and livelihood strategies used by migrants, refugees, and other individuals who have been displaced. Our research examines the support networks and solidarity structures that exist locally and across national borders for these individuals. Additionally, the BICC investigates the potential for local integration and the chances for return and reintegration of these displaced populations.

Likewise, we analyse the origins and outcomes of long-term displacement, encampment, and forced immobility and the subsequent impact on the dynamics between individuals who have been displaced, those who have returned, and the communities hosting them.  

This necessitates, among various factors, a critical analysis of the political economy of forced displacement, processes of (re-)integration, and border regimes, as well as the study of policies, discourses, and governance structures that facilitate or impede individuals' mobility, livelihoods, and social interactions.

Our empirical research focuses on migration and forced displacement, encompassing various geographical contexts, including Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. These settings span from countries characterised by violent conflict and transit zones to areas where individuals temporarily or permanently dwell. 

Our approach involves thorough empirical research to understand these phenomena comprehensively. Using qualitative, quantitative, and participatory methodologies, our research attempts to enhance our understanding of the everyday experiences, coping mechanisms, and viewpoints of migrants and displaced individuals.

Our ultimate goal is to facilitate the establishment of displacement solutions firmly grounded in the rights, necessities, and priorities of the affected groups. We offer policy recommendations and actively participate in discussions with influential actors and public discourse about migration, forced displacement, integration, and return. 

selected publications

Lorenz, R., & Etzold, B.

Journeys of Violence: Trajectories of (Im-)Mobility and Migrants’ Encounters with Violence in European Border Spaces

(2022)

Open

Şahin-Mencütek, Z.

The Geopolitics of Returns: Geopolitical Reasoning and Space-Making in Turkey’s Repatriation Regime

(2022)

Open

Etzold, B., & Fechter, A.

Unsettling protracted displacement: connectivity and mobility beyond ‘Limbo’

(2022)

Open

Kraler, A., & Etzold, B., & Ferreira, N.

Understanding the dynamics of protracted displacement

(2021)

Open

Sterly, H., & Etzold, B., & Wirkus, L., & Sakdapolrak, P., & Schleussner, C., & Hennig, B.

Assessing refugees’ onward mobility with mobile phone data—A case study of (Syrian) refugees in Turkey

Springer , Cham (2019)

Open

Kleist, J., & Engler, M., & Etzold, B., & Mielke, K., & Oltmer, J., & Pott, A., & Schetter, C., & Wirkus, L.

Abschlussbericht – Flucht- und Flüchtlingsforschung in Deutschland: Eine Bestandsaufnahme.

IMIS/BICC , Osnabrück (2019)

Open

Rudolf, M.

Flucht und Fluchtursachenbekämpfung im globalen Süden

LIT , Berlin (2017)

Open

Etzold, B.

Migrations- und Fluchtpfade aus Afrika nach Europa. In Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Ed.), Kurzdossiers – Zuwanderung, Flucht und Asyl: Aktuelle Themen.

(2017)

Open

Şahin-Mencütek, Z., & Mielke, K., & Schmitz-Pranghe, C., & Vollmer, R.

When Returning Home Feels Like Hell

IPS Journal (2023)

Open

Fakhoury, T., & Şahin-Mencütek, Z.

The Geopolitics of Return Migration in the International System

(2023)

Open

Sterly, H., & Wirkus, L.

Analysing Refugees' Secondary Mobility Using Mobile Phone Call Data Records

Oxford University Press , London (2022)

Open

Our Topic Experts

Dr Osman Bahadir Dincer

Senior Researcher

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Dr Benjamin Etzold

Senior Researcher

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Elvan Isikozlu

Head of Advice and Scientific Transfer

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Dr Esther Meininghaus

Senior Researcher

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Dr Zeynep Şahin-Mencütek

Senior Researcher

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Dr Katja Mielke

Senior Researcher

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Dr Lamis Saleh

Senior Researcher

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Professor Dr Conrad Schetter

Director

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Clara Schmitz-Pranghe

Researcher

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Maarit Thiem

Project Coordinator

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Ruth Vollmer

Researcher

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Lars Wirkus

Senior Management \ Head of Research Infrastructure and Data

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Related projects

Return and belonging after conflict-induced displacement (RE-MIG)

2023-02-01

running

Forced Migration and Refugee Studies: Networking and Knowledge Transfer

2020-01-01

running

Trajectories of reintegration. The impacts of displacement, migration and return on social change

2019-01-01

closed

Transnational Figurations of Displacement: Connectivity and Mobility as Solutions to Protracted Refugee Situations (TRAFIG)

2018-12-17

closed

Forced Displacement—Research and Transfer: Approaches from peace & conflict studies

2016-09-22

closed

Between civil war and integration—Refugees and the challenges and opportunities of societal change in North Rhine-Westphalia

2016-04-29

closed

Cultural and educational opportunities in refugee camps in Lebanon

2015-06-01

closed

People in in-between space: How forced immobility is dealt with in Kabul (Crossroads Asia)

2015-01-01

closed

Protected rather than protracted—Strengthening refugees and peace

2015-01-01

closed

DIASPEACE

2011-01-01

closed

(Re)migration in Central Asia and implications for regime stability in three Central Asian countries

2011-01-01

closed

GMF transatlantic study team on climate-induced migration

2010-01-01

closed

African migrant organizations (MO) in North Rhine-Westphalia – Forms of organization and activities

2010-01-01

closed

Study on the use of diasporas in core government functions and services in Post-conflict and fragile situations

2010-01-01

closed

Migration and Displacement in Sub-Saharan Africa

2008-02-28

closed

The Security-Migration Nexus - Challenges and Opportunities of African Migration to EU Countries

2008-01-01

closed

The role of the African diaspora in conflicts

2007-01-01

closed