Network Dynamics Ethnic Integration

Visualisation of data from project Network Dynamics of Ethnic Integration

Network Dynamics of Ethnic Integration is an interdisciplinary research project on ethnic relations and integration in multiple social domains in Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.

Since the end of the Second World War and within the span of a couple of generations, the ethnic compositions of the Nordic countries have significantly changed. Through both voluntary and involuntary international migration, the traditionally net-emigrating Scandinavian countries have turned into net recipients of migrants.

To understand the dynamics, mechanisms and societal outcomes of the contemporary multi-ethnic Nordic societies is of profound importance. While the Nordic countries differ in their histories, policies and public opinions on immigration and integration, the need to advance knowledge to minimise potential negative outcomes – such as exclusion, segregation, inter-ethnic frictions, and discrimination – and to maximise the benefits of a multi-ethnic society is a shared objective.

Aim and objectives

The overarching aim of the project is to study inter-ethnic dynamics in families, work places, and communities in order to build up novel capacity and expertise in the Nordic countries for doing network scientific register-based research on ethnic relations and integration.

Methodology

Nordic research on ethnic relations, integration and various forms of segregation have benefited greatly from available register data. The network perspective offers a comprehensive analytical framework for studying social phenomena that encompass the micro-scale of individuals as well as meso- and macro-scale levels (families, communities and entire population) of societies. 

Our project combines the major characteristic features attributed to the emerging transdisciplinary field of computational social science. At its foundation, the project is sociological, informed by existing theoretical and empirical research on inter-ethnic relations and integration. As the used empirical register data is relational in nature, conventional cross-comparative statistical methods are less suited here; rather, the modern computational, data and network science methods are needed, as they are capable in taking the dependencies in the network into account. Our approach is analytical, incorporating network-scientific methods that allow us to stretch beyond descriptive associations, to explore the social and hierarchical dynamics of human behaviour that possibly could provide explanations of social phenomena and human sociality (e.g. Keuschnigg et al 2018).

Funding and team

Funded through the NordForsk programme on interdisciplinary research, our Nordic research consortium consists of scholars from both the social sciences as well as computer science, combining solid subject-specific social-scientific expertise with advanced computational and network-scientific approaches to gain novel policy-relevant insights on ethnic relations and integration in our contemporary Nordic societies.

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