Paolo Ruspini (MA Pol. Sci., PhD, Milan) is a political scientist who has been researching issues of international and European migration and integration since 1997 with a comparative approach and by drawing on mixed methods. His current research deals with transnational migration from a theoretical and empirical perspective. The geographical focus of his work spans from Western to Central and South-Eastern Europe and cover also the post-Soviet migration space with emphasis on the dynamics and multimodal character of migration flows in a changing policy context. He has been working in many collaborative projects at European and national level and he is active in research networks regarding international migration as well as being from time to time advisor for national and international organizations.
He is currently affiliate scholar at Franklin University Switzerland, Lugano, Switzerland (since December 2018); associate researcher at the Institute of Sociological Research (IRS), Geneva School of Social Science, University of Geneva, Switzerland (since September 2017); member of the Karl Polányi Research Center for Global Social Studies at Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary (since July 2016); honorary research fellow at the Department of Social Sciences, University of Roehampton, London, United Kingdom (since January 2016); associate fellow at the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Institute of Law, Politics and Development (DIRPOLIS), Pisa, Italy (since July 2014); and he has been senior researcher for more than nine years at the Faculty of Communication Sciences of the University of Lugano (USI), Switzerland (starting from February 2008).
From October 2013 until May 2014 he was visiting professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, in Pisa. He has also been associate fellow at the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations (CRER) of the University of Warwick for ten years until the CRER closed in September 2011.
In the year 2001, Ruspini received a Marie Curie individual fellowship for his project “Living on the Edge: Irregular Migrants in Europe” (2001-2002) and he also received a German Marshall Fund and other smaller grants for holding the position of principal investigator at CRER for the research project in collaboration with the Centre of Migration Research of Warsaw University, “In Search for a New Europe: Contrasting Migratory Experiences” (2001-2005). Paolo Ruspini was also visiting scholar at the Mershon Center for Education, Ohio State University (1998) and worked for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (1995-1996). He combines research activities with routine lectures in a number of universities and international institutions. Besides a significant number of papers which he contributed to international conferences, he is also the author of an array of publications on migration.
The link between current migration, immigrant integration and migrant transnationalism lies at the core of my research and teaching. The present circular, often repetitive flows of labour and return migration can generate specific social challenges that exceed the capacities of traditional integration programmes developed for unidirectional migration. Under conditions of globalisation, the growing transnationalism (and the role of diasporas) urges a redefinition of the traditional notions of integration. Notions of identity are evolving as individuals increasingly ‘belong’ to more than one country and society.
Transnational communities are thus becoming an important way to organise activities, relationships and identity for the growing number of people with affiliations in different countries. Consistent outflows of asylum seekers moving from neighbouring countries to the European continent adds further challenges in view of the specific needs of these vulnerable persons which include a significant number of women and children. Intercultural competences and the ability to deal with diversity are then increasingly important aspects in migrant-receiving, transit and return locations.