Felicitas Hillmann und Michael Windzio (Hg.): Migration und städtischer Raum. Chancen und Risiken der Segregation und Integration. Opladen, Farmington Hills 2008. 334 S.
When talking about “migration and urban space“, segregation and integration are central topics, not only in geographic migration research, but also in urban planning and urban politics. Hence, the recent German publication “Migration und städtischer Raum. Chancen und Risiken der Segregation und Integration” (Own translation: Migration and Urban Space. Opportunities and Risks of Segregation and Integration”) promises to be insightful for a broad audience.
The compilation is based on a selection of presentations given at a conference in Bremen in November 2007 which was organized by the interdisciplinary research group MIGREMUS (MIGration, REsidential Mobility and Urban Structure).
The aim of the conference was to discuss empirical evidence on the causes and the effects of migration. The multiplicity of disciplines in this field is reflected by the affiliations of the authors who stem from the fields of sociology, geography, education, psychology and criminology, with a focus on the first two subjects.
As already expressed in the subtitle, the book, which is not available in English, aims to shed light on the risks and opportunities of migration, segregation and integration. It consists of seventeen articles which are organised in three sections: (1) “Segregation and changing urban space”, (2) “Migration in the life course”, and (3) “Migrants as actors of integration in social and institutional contexts”. In an introductory text the editors Felicitas Hillmann and Michael Windzio link the key concepts of this book: migration as a topic of urban development, segregation and integration. They discuss positive and negative effects of segregation on the integration of migrants and present different concepts of integration. Finally, Hillmann and Windzio give an overview of available data bases (e.g. Allbus, Mikrozensus and SOEP) on migration and integration in Germany.
The articles in the first section “segregation and changing urban space” focus on the development of segregation and on its effects. They are based on studies on the city scale which were conducted in Cologne, Vienna, Bremen and an urban area in the Ruhr conurbation. The studies take different perspectives on segregation: the role of intra-urban migration (Friedrichs/Nonnenmacher), the spatial distribution of a specific ethnic group (Kohlbacher/Reeger) and the attitude towards migrants living in segregated areas (Farwick). In contrast to these articles, which rely on the analysis of statistical data and survey data, is Polat’s study on educational segregation which refers to a case study of four elementary schools in a selected urban area.
The second section “migration in the life course” comprises a collection of quite different articles which are united by the fact that the decisions of individuals, in general migrants, or households are the centre of interest. Kathmann, Mau, Seidel and Verwiebe explore the emigration of skilled labour from Germany, a group that has only attracted little attention so far. Glorius examines the migration and the integration of Polish migrants in Eastern Germany. The articles of Kley and Schmithals focus on the effects of attachment to place on migration and return migration. They are the only articles in the compilation that do not deal with international migration nor international migrants. Finally, the articles of Horr and Wiesemann describe choice of location by households with a migrant background. While Horr compares households with migrant backgrounds to those without migrant backgrounds, Wiesemann compares households with a Turkish background who chose to live in neighbourhoods with a mainly German population to those who chose to live in neighbourhoods with a high share of Turkish inhabitants.
The third section is dedicated to integration. The articles focus on different dimensions of integration. Aspects of structural integration are addressed by Pichler who worked on educational careers of Italian migrants; by Yildiz who demonstrates how migrants influence urban development through their business activities in immigrant quarters; and von Schlichting who analyses the influence of the residence status on transnational lifestyles. She takes up a transnational perspective which is not limited to the integration into a so-called host society, but regards migration as a circular movement which involves integration into different places. A cognitive dimension of integration is taken by Vogel and Rinke who discuss the importance of the command of German for integration in Germany. Finally, three articles deal with the social dimension of integration. The contact of migrants to Germans is analysed as a dependent variable (Babk a von Gostomski/Stichs) as well as an independent variable in relation to juvenile delinquency (Rabold/Baier). Furthermore, matchmaking rituals are investigated (Hense/Stürmer/Böer/Gamper) to find out whether arranged marriages lead to intra-ethnic partnership and social closure.
This brief overview shows the variety of the contributions to this book which is already indicated by the rather unspecific book title. This lack of focus might be problematic for the accessibility of some articles. For example, a text about matchmaking rituals is unexpected in a book called “Migration and urban space”. However, the broadness of the topics covered is very attractive, because this book shows an array of up-to-date migration research in Germany and Austria. It includes more traditional questions in human geography, like segregation and residential choice. Nevertheless, some results are not ‘traditional’ at all and deserve to be mentioned. For example, Friedrichs and Nonnenmacher find out that choice of location of Germans and non-Germans does not lead to an increased segregation, but to a mixed composition of urban areas in Cologne (p. 44). In addition, the compilation contains more innovative topics like, for instance, the project on emigration of German labour force. Other topics lie rather outside the geographic perspective, e.g. the role of the command of language or arranged marriages, but are still very important for the understanding of geographic research on migration and integration. Its interdisciplinarity is a particular quality of this compilation because it allows the reader to widen their horizon, not only with respect to content, but also to the reporting of the results. Regarding the variety of the content it would have been a difficult task for the editors to write a concluding chapter. However, such a text would have been desirable, particularly when reading the editors’ initial claim that this compilation should add to a migration research that conciliates the results of empirical analyses from sociology and geography and that is able to deduce research progress from their intersection (p. 25).
A criticism applies to the poor quality of some of the maps. Particularly those in the article of Kohlbacher and Reeger are not discernible in the black-and-white version. The editors deal with this problem constructively by providing the original versions of the coloured maps on the MIGREMUS’ website. Nevertheless, in a book which costs 36 Euros, the reader could expect a better solution that allows for clear black-and-white maps within the book. It would already have helped to enlarge the maps and to use symbols instead of five shades of grey.
In the introduction Hillmann und Windzio note that the more concrete an analysis of case studies is, the more questionable is the generalisation of the results. This question of generalisation also applies to this book which is a collection of empirical studies. However, these case studies are very inspiring. Therefore, aside from its minor limitations, this book is highly recommendable, not only to researchers in the field of migration, but also to other people who are interested in questions of segregation and integration.