Conducting research is SIHMA's main activity. The research is revolved around certain themes of migration, which can be found below.
All the research that we do support the advocacy, service providing and social projects inside the Scalabrini network, such as Scalabrini Centre and Lawrence House.
Human mobility in Africa
Human mobility in Africa has a long history spanning several centuries and the continent has a highly mobile population composed of nomads, frontier workers, highly skilled professionals, entrepreneurs, students, refugees and undocumented migrants. The discourse around migration trends and patterns in Africa is dominated by myths and false assumptions which fail to paint a true reflection of this phenomenon. Our research seeks clarity on the different forms of mobility in Africa.
International migration is perceived by states as a global challenge and its governance represents a controversial matter for policy-makers who try to ramp up their consensus over policy matters. In recent years, scholars have debated migration policies’ effectiveness, grappling with the question of why such policies tend to fail and produce unintended consequences. Our research looks at the development of migration policies and also at the role played by the different actors involved in the process of policy making.
Impact of migration on mental health
Migration is a phenomenon that influences human life to a great extent. Often lack of being prepared, difficulty in adjusting to a new environment, the complex local system, language barriers, cultural disparities etcetera can cause distress to migrants. It can therefore have a negative impact on the mental well-being of migrants. The impact of migration on human well-being is a contemporary issue and SIHMA thus aims to understand this impact on the mental health of migrants.
Xenophobia and Afrophobia
Xenophobia is a fear of the other, whereas Afrophobia is a fear for a specific other; the black other. South Africa has in recent year been dealing with surges of xenophobia, but more specifically Afrophobia. The fear is not towards the general foreigner – such as European foreigners – but towards black others. SIHMA aims to offer a critical look at the phenomena in order to contribute to a diminishing of these phobias.
Climate change and migration
Migration and climate have always been linked, but in the modern age, the impact of climate change – influenced enormously by human activity – is likely to change the patterns of human mobility extensively. Catastrophic climate related events will majorly influence the way that humans decide to migrate and settle. SIHMA therefore seeks to study the links between migration, the environment and climate change.
Gender is central to any debates revolved around the causes and consequences of migration, forced or voluntary. A person’s gender, sex and sexual orientation shape a migrant’s experience at every stage of the migration process. It is therefore vital to consider how gender links with migration and understand it to be able to respond to it. SIHMA aims to contribute to the discourse on gender and migration by focusing on gender issues in the research agenda.
1 in 8 migrants worldwide are children (IOM). In all phases of the migration process, migrant minors are disproportionately vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking, detention, abuse and violence. This vulnerability worsens when the child is alone or separated from adults. Addressing the needs of these minors is therefore important to migration research, and thus a part of SIHMA’s research agenda.