Migration and Integration are subjects of great social importance and ones to which the Catholic University of Applied Sciences Mainz (CUAS Mainz) is especially committed because they are of academic interest and from a sense of Christian responsibility. As subjects that combine differing interest groups they embrace all levels, missions and areas of specialism of the University. They
⇒ are not only to be found on the central level but also on that of the individual faculties,
⇒ are concerned with the classic tasks of research and teaching as well as the ‚third mission‘ involving further academic training, knowledge transfer linked to the outside world, social involvement and
⇒ link with the social, health-centred and pastoral subject specialisms of the university.
Migration, translated as journeying, is a form of mobility and in its most general sense refers to a „ spatial moving of the centre point of one’s existence with a view to a sojourn lasting for a longer period of time“ undertaken by human beings (Jochen Oltmer). These people are mobile as individuals, smaller or larger groups. In the course of international migrations they cross one or several state borders, whilst they remain within one national region in the much more frequently occurring case of internal migration.
It can take the form of outward migration and / or emigration and inward migration and / or immigration, so that mobility is a feature both of the individual man or woman as well as of the various spaces which so to speak are characterised by movements and are consequently subject to change. Flexible manifestations of migration are playing an increasingly important role. People are migrating once or repeatedly, with or without any return to their country of origin, or they adjust to leading a life of moving back and forth over a medium to long term period.
The reasons for migrating are also different. Sometimes people have to leave their homeland. They may be forced to do so by the state (enforcements such as deportation, evacuation, resettlement, expulsion) or they do so out of fear of dangers (fleeing from wars, environmental catastrophes). Sometimes they want to go. They hope for a better life (for example, through work) or they choose a different life (for example, for the sake of love). Sometimes the reasons occur in parallel to one another or in combination with one another, and quite frequently they cannot be categorised so easily. In the case of my child having to grow up in conditions of chaos and latent violence, has no opportunity of education or professional and therefore personal development, is migration in those circumstances a free choice or a form of compulsion?
The Catholic University of Applied Sciences Mainz concentrates on international migration. It views this from the perspective of the countries where migrants arrive and, in this particular instance, European countries, in particular Germany. The University is interested in the entire spectrum of migration-related phenomena, as applied not only to specific groups but also to encompass broad issues affecting society as a whole, which emanate from processes of migration.
The term ‚Integration‘ is mainly employed in political discourse in Germany to refer to the issue of migration as seen from the viewpoint of immigration. The frequent use of the two words ‘Migration and Integration’ testifies to this. In this context Integration is a “political and sociological designation for the social and political inclusion of individuals or groups of people who may be distinguished, for example, on the basis of their ethnic background, religion, language etc.” (Klaus Schubert/Martina Klein 2016)
Nevertheless it is crucially important to bear in mind the fact that Integration refers first and foremost to a conjunction of difference as a principle, whereby difference is a general characteristic of the social, and of societies in general. That is to say that that ‘we’ are ourselves different in any case, and that congruency and dissimilarity are always phenomena on a graded scale and need to be evaluated accordingly. In this way integration is a general social and permanent task. Equally, the exact degree at which a society can be said to be homogenous is practically impossible to determine, and therefore one cannot answer the question either whether more homogenous societies function, so to speak, any better than heterogeneous ones.
In spite of this, one conceives and defines Integration primarily as the expectations that those ‘already settled’ have of the ‘newcomers’. In this way it is really more a matter of adaptation and assimilation that can, or alternatively, ought to result in different areas of life, for example, in the education and employment system (structurally) and the national language (culturally), in local communities (socially) and the collective sense of identity (as part of an identification process).
Viewed thus, the concept of ‚Integration‘ is sociologically debateable since by defining it in this way it is already placing the onus in a linguistically individualizing and one-sided sense on to individuals who are being defined as different ethnically and, or, culturally, and is thereby demanding (if only) implicitly a certain policy for integration.
In contrast to this we are concerned with getting to the very core of this concept in its different analytical, political and everyday linguistic facets, which at the same time are an important impetus for us to engage in a systematic process of self-reflexion and self-orientation.