Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance

The Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG) is a University designated Centre of Research Excellence

Placing Ourselves - investigating categories of belonging and integration

Placing Ourselves
Placing Ourselves is a project which aims to challenge existing binaries in migration, multiculturalism and integration.
January 2012 (All day) - September 2013 (All day)

Despite decades of policy-research dialogue integration within the context of migration-mobility remains a contested concept. This project aims to challenge existing binaries in migration, multiculturalism and integration research by conducting research into the dialogical relations between place and practices of belonging and integration.

Placing Ourselves is a MMIIDA Network Collaborative European Project 2012-2013 and is a comparative international pilot which aims to understand how key categories relating to two concepts - ‘belonging’ and ‘integration’ - are conceptualised, reified and enacted by practitioners and citizens in six European cities - Dublin, Dusseldorf, Glasgow, Gothenburg, London and Manchester

This study uses an interview-based comparative qualitative approach which uses visual and verbal stimulus materials. In an insightful challenge to current integration frames, fieldwork involves both migrants and non-migrants discussing their integration and belonging. It samples people from across a 10-point migration-mobility continuum (Mahendran 2013) from the generationally non-mobile to serial migrants anticipating their next move. The project aims to contribute to an overall understanding of the scope of belonging and integration within differing European contexts to inform research-policy dialogue.

Fieldwork will be complete in January 2013. Outputs will begin to be released from June 2013 onwards.


Read more on the background to this project

Gillespie, A., Howarth, C., & Cornish, F. (2012) Four problems for researchers using social categories. Culture and psychology, 18 (3). pp. 391-402. ISSN 1461-7056

Howarth, C., Wagner W., Magnusson N., and Sammut, G. (2013) "‘It’s only other people who make me feel black’: acculturation, identity and agency in a multicultural community." Political Psychology.

Mahendran, K (2013: In Press) ‘A two-way process of accommodation’ public perceptions of integration along the migration-mobility continuum. In Umut Korkut, Gregg Bucken-Knapp, Aidan McGarry, Jonas Hinnfors & Helen Drake (edits) The Discourses & Politics of Migration in Europe. Europe in Transition Series, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

Scuzzarello, S (2012). "Integration of migrants in Western Europe: bridging social psychology and political science". Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 22(1).

Related Events

On September 13-14, 2012 the MMIIDA Network (Migration, Multiculturalism, Integration & Identity – Dialogical Approaches) held its 2nd international meeting at City University London. This event was co-organised by Dr Kesi Mahendran (CCIG-Open University) and Dr Sarah Scuzzarello (CREM- City University).

The meeting involved two keynote dialogues: Dynamics of a Dialogical Approach – Ivana Markova and Paul Sullivan and Citizenship and the Future of Multiculturalism – Anne-Marie Fortier & Caroline Howarth. Listen to the two keynote dialogues.


This study is led by Kesi Mahendran, it involves Caroline Howarth (London School of Economics), Ima Jackson (Glasgow Caledonian University), Catarina Nyberg (Manchester-Stockholm University), Nicola Magnusson (Open University), Munirah Olton (Salongo Arts, London), Sarah Scuzzarello (City University, London). With Research Associate support from Helen Arfvidsson (Open University), Rebecca Rotter (Edinburgh University) and Thomas Winman (University-West, Trollhättan).

Learn more about the research programme: Enactments