Refugee Migration and Cities

– social Institutions, Political Governance and Integration in Jordan, Turkey and Sweden (SIPGI). A research project within the research program migration and integration.

Project leader: Andrea Spehar External link.

Period: 2019-2024

Seat of learning: University of Gothenburg

Project title: Refugee Migration and Cities: Social Institutions, Political Governance and Integration in Jordan, Turkey and Sweden (SIPGI)

What is the project about?

The overall aim of this project is to investigate how urban communities address the pressures of refugee migration by examining governance approaches to these challenges. It contains two research streams: one on the political institutions shaping refugee-host population interactions, and the second on social institutions governing these interactions.

The project employs a carefully structured, interdisciplinary, multi-method approach in three countries with diverse political, geographical and social conditions: Sweden, Turkey and Jordan. In each country, it focuses on cities that have experienced a significant influx of refugees - Gothenburg (Sweden), Adana (Turkey) and Irbid (Jordan), comparing neighborhoods that have experienced a significant settlement of refugees.

Research questions:

  • How does variance in the capacity of the local government in providing services to its citizens and by extension, to refugees, affect the integration of refugees into the host population?
  • In what ways does community composition influence the dynamics of host-refugee interactions in everyday life, and possibilities of social integration?
  • How is the relationship between social and political institutions transformed within the context of addressing the challenges of refugee migration?

Methodologically, the project employs ethnography, elite interviews, focus groups, survey and laboratory experiments, and large-N surveys, generating an original empirical dataset that will shed light on important issues of combating intergroup prejudice, fostering migrant integration, and disentangling the relations between formal government and social governance in this process.

Project participants

This is an international, collaborative project bringing together researchers from Sweden, Turkey, Jordan and the United States. The program is hosted at the Centre on Global Migration (CGM), School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, in close collaboration with the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD), in the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Lund University and MiReKoc, the leading migration centre in Turkey.

The project will engage closely with representatives of local governments and municipalities, as well as officials in various institutions responsible for service delivery. Results of the program will inform politicians, policy-makers and officials at the local, regional and national level.


Bucken-Knapp, Gregg., Omanović Vedran., and Spehar Andrea 2019. Institutions and Organizations of Refugee Integration: Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Syrian Refugees in Sweden. External link.

Bucken-Knapp, G., Spehar, A., and Fakih., Z. 2019. "Talking about Integration: The Voices of Syrian Refugees Taking Part in Introduction Programs for Integration into Swedish Society", International Migration. 57(2) External link.

Spehar, Andrea (2021) “Navigating institutions for integration: Perceived institutional barriers of access to the labour market among refugee women in Sweden”. Journal of Refugee Studies. External link.




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  2. Doctoral programme grant within migration and integration

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