Winners of Globalization? A Study on the Emergence of a Transnational Professional Elite in Europe

The cooperative junior research group "Transnationalization of Society, Politics and the Economy" is funded from March 2014 until October 2017 by the Excellence Initiative launched by the Federal Government and the Federal States. The research group investigates the mobility patterns of highly qualified Europeans in Germany.

Since the Maastricht Treaty and the right of free movement, EU countries have been facing a growing wave of intra-EU migration. In contrast to the classical immigration waves, such as the guest workers in the 1960s and 1970s, recent intra-EU immigrants tend to be highly mobile and skilled. This intra-European immigration has boomed over the last few years as a consequence of the EU enlargement to Central and Eastern European countries and the economic crisis that mainly hit several Southern European countries.

Whether this growing intra-European spatial mobility is linked to an upward social mobility remains an open question and constitutes the main research question of the junior research group. This research question is investigated by focusing on the social mobility patterns of professionals from EU countries in Germany. More specifically, the research group administrates a large-scale survey and follow-up qualitative interviews among highly skilled Europeans who recently immigrated to Germany. Against the background of the right of free movement, studying intra-EU migration more systematically provides a clearer understanding of the development of a European society.

Subprojects of the Junior Research Group

  • Head of project: Prof. Dr. Céline Teney

  • Researcher: Regina Becker
    Regina Becker's PhD project analyses the relation of spatial and social mobility by asking to what extent these intra-European migrants (EU movers) gain from their migration experience compared to their peers who did not migrate (EU stayers). Self-evaluation as 'winners' will be taken into account as well as objective criteria to measure their 'success'.

  • Former researcher: Katharina Bürkin

  • Secretary and translator: Britta Plote