It’s the taking part that counts: Inequalities and simultaneous youth transnational engagement from six European countries

Laura Di­az-Chorne, Victor Suárez-Lledó, Javier Lorenzo Rodriguez


In this article we investigate transnational engagement in the destination country and oriented towards the home country, offering a theoretical analysis of the often-neglected simultaneous nature of this phenomenon. Using two original indices, we empirically examine the extent to which young people from six countries (Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania and Spain) are involved in transnational political, economic, social and cultural activities. The study is based on two surveys carried out as part of the H2020 project MOVE, which studied youth mobility in Europe, with a sample of 8,706 young respondents (18-29 years old). Our findings show that migrants’ transnational engagement in their home country and destination is not only simultaneous but mutually reinforcing. This engagement is affected by individual and institutional constraints, which shows that transnational ties and transactions not only produce inequalities but are affected by them.


mobility; youth; transnationality; simultaneity; inequality; EU

Full Text:



Amelina, A. and Vasilache, A. (2014). “The shadows of enlargement: Theorising mobility and inequality in a changing Europe”, Migration Letters, 11(2): 109-124.

Baubock, R. (2003). “Toward a Political Theory of Migrant Transnationalism”, International Migration Review, 37: 700-723.

Bilecen, B. and Cardona, A. (2018). “Do transnational brokers always win? A multilevel analysis of social support”, Social Networks, 53: 90-100.

Bilecen, B. and Van Mol, C. (2017). “Introduction: international academic mobility and inequalities”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43(8): 1241-1255.

Bassets, M. (23rd September 2018). “El salto de Valls a Barcelona intriga y desconcierta en Francia”, El País. Retrieved from

Boccagni, P. (2011). “Migrants' social protection as a transnational process: public policies and emigrant initiative in the case of Ecuador”, International Journal of Social Welfare. 20, (3) : 318-325

Boccagni, P. (2012). “Chapter 14: Even a transnational social field must have its boundaries. Methodological options, potential and dilemmas for researching transnationalism”, Handbook of Research Methods in Migration: 295–318.

Bukodi, E. and Goldthorpe, J. H. (2012). “Decomposing ‘social origins’: The effects of parents’ class, status, and education on the educational attainment of their children”, European Sociological Review, 29(5): 1024-1039.

Castells, M. (1996). The Rise of the Network Society. The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture Volume I (Information Age Series). London: Blackwell.

Chaudary, A. R. (2017). “Voting here and there: political integration and transnational political engagement among immigrants in Europe”, Global Networks.

Chaudhary, A. R. (2016). “Transnational politics and immigrant political participation in Europe”, Working Paper, International Migration Institute, University of Oxford, 127: 1-22. http://www. imi. ox. ac. uk/publications/transnational-politics-and-political-integration-amongmigrants-in-europe. Accessed March 27.

Cobben, F. and Bethlehem, J. (2013). Web panels for official statistics. The Hague, The Netherlands: Statistics Netherlands.

Cohen, J. H. and Sirkeci, I. (2011). Cultures of migration: The global nature of contemporary mobility. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Cohen, J. and Sirkeci, I. (2005). A comparative study of Turkish and Mexican transnational migration outcomes. In: Henke. H. (ed.) Crossing over: comparing recent migration in the United States and Europe. Oxford: Lexington Books: 147-63.

Dahinden, J. (2009). “Are we all transnationals now? Network transnationalism and transnational subjectivity: the differing impacts of globalization on the inhabitants of a small Swiss city”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 32(8): 1365-1386.

De Haas, H. (2011). The determinants of international migration.

Díaz-Chorne, L. and Suarez-Lledo, V. (2017). The bonds to remain committed to the home country. In: Navarrete et al., (2017). MOVE D.4.7, 2017 Part of the MOVE-project: Mapping mobility – pathways, institutions and structural effects of youth mobility.

Ehrkamp, P. (2005). “Placing identities: Transnational practices and local attachments of Turkish immigrants in Germany”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration studies, 31(2): 345-364.

Erola, J., Jalonen, S. and Lehti, H. (2016). “Parental education, class and income over early life course and children's achievement”, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 44: 33-43.

EUROSTAT, Educational attainment and transition from education to work (based on EU-Labour Force Survey), Young people by education, sex and age 2015. Retrieved from〈=en

Faist, T. (2006). “The Transnational Social Spaces of Migration”, Working Papers. Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development, (10): 3–8.

Faist, T. (2008). “Migrants as transnational development agents: an inquiry into the newest round of the migration–development nexus”,. Population, space and place, 14(1): 21-42.

Faist, T. (2013). “The mobility turn: a new paradigm for the social sciences?”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(11): 1637-1646.

Faist, T. (2014). “We are all transnationals now: the relevance of transnationality for understanding social inequalities”. In The History of Migration in Europe (pp. 89-107). Routledge.

Faist, T. and Bilecen, B. (2015). “Social inequalities through the lens of social protection: notes on the transnational social question”, Population, Space and Place, 21(3): 282-293.

Favell, A. (2010). “Integration Policy and integration research in Europe”. In: Aleinikoff, T. A., and Klusmeyer, D. (Eds.) Citizenship today: global perspectives and practices. Brookings Institution Press.

Favell, A. (2011). Eurostars and Eurocities: Free movement and mobility in an integrating Europe (Vol. 56). John Wiley & Sons.

Fitzgerald, D. (2004). “Beyond ‘transnationalism’: Mexican hometown politics at an American labour union”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 27(2): 228-247.

Fries-TerschE, Tugran, T., Rossi, L. and Bradley, H.. (2018). 2017 Annual Report on intra-EU Labour Mobility. European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg

Guarnizo, L. (2008). Londres latina: la presencia colombiana en la capital británica. Miguel Angel Porrua.

Guarnizo, L. E. (2003). “The Economics of Transnational Living”, International Migration Review, 37 (3)

Guarnizo, L. E., Portes, A. and Haller, W. (2003). “Assimilation and transnationalism: determinants of transnational political action among contemporary migrants”, American journal of Sociology, 108(6): 1211-1248.

Heckathorn, D. D. (1997). “Respondent-driven sampling: a new approach to the study of hidden populations”, Social problems, 44(2): 174-199.

Herz, A. (2015). “Relational constitution of social support in migrants' transnational personal communities”. Social Networks, 40(1): 64-74.

Itzigsohn, J. and Saucedo, S. G. (2002). “Immigrant incorporation and sociocultural transnationalism”, International migration review, 36(3): 766-798.

Kalton, G. and Flores-Cervantes, I. (2003). ``Weighting methods''. Journal of Official Statistics, 19(2): 81.

Lafleur, J. M. (2011). “The transnational political participation of Latin American and Caribbean migrants residing in Europe”, International Migration, 49(3): 1-9.

Levitt, P. (2001). “Transnational migration: taking stock and future directions”, Global networks, 1(3): 195-216.

Levitt, P. and Jaworsky, B. N. (2007). Transnational Migration Studies: Past Developments and Future Trends Introduction: The Emergence of a Transnational Optic.

Levitt, P. and Glick Schiller, N. (2004). “Conceptualizing simultaneity: A transnational social field perspective on society”, International migration review, 38(3): 1002-1039.

Massey, D. S., Arango, J., Hugo, G., Kouaouci, A., Pellegrino, A., and Taylor, J. E. (1993). “Theories of international migration: A review and appraisal”, Population and development review: 431-466.

Mau, S. (2010). Social transnationalism: Lifeworlds beyond the nation-state. Routledge.

Mau, S., Mewes, J. & Zimmermann, A. (2008). Cosmopolitan attitudes through transnational social practices? Global Networks, 8(1):1–24.

Mazzucato, V. (2010). “Operationalising transnational migrant networks through a simultaneous matched sample methodology”. In: Bauböck, R., Faist, T. (Eds.), Diaspora and Transnationalism: Concepts, Theories and Methods. Amsterdam University Press, : 205–226.

Morales, L. and Morariu, M. (2011). Is ‘Home’a distraction? The role of migrants’ transnational practices in their political integration into receiving-country politics. In Social Capital, Political Participation and Migration in Europe :140-171. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Morales, L. and Pilati, K. (2014). “The political transnationalism of Ecuadorians in Barcelona, Madrid and Milan: the role of individual resources, organizational engagement and the political context”, Global Networks, 14(1): 80-102.

Morawska, E. (2003). “Immigrant transnationalism and assimilation: a variety of combinations and the analytic strategy it suggests”. In: C. Joppke and E. Morawska (eds) Toward assimilation and citizenship: immigrants in liberal nation-states. Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan: 133–76.

Morawska, E. (2004). “Exploring diversity in immigrant assimilation and transnationalism: Poles and Russian Jews in Philadelphia”, International Migration Review, 38(4): 1372-1412.

Muhib, F. B., Lin, L. S., Stueve, A., Miller, R. L., Ford, W. L., Johnson, W. D., ... & Community Intervention Trial for Youth Study Team. (2016). A venue-based method for sampling hard-to-reach populations. Public health reports.

Navarrete et al. (2017) MOVE D.4.7, 2017 Part of the MOVE-project: Mapping mobility – pathways, institutions and structural effects of youth mobility.

Norris, P. (2000). A virtuous circle: Political communications in postindustrial societies. New York: Cambridge University Press.

OECD. (2016). Better Life Index, Civic Engagement. Retrieved from

Orozco, M., Lowell, L., Bump, M. and Fedewa, R. (2005). “Transnational engagement, remittances and their relationship to development in Latin America and the Caribbean” Institute for the Study of International Migration, Georgetown.

Østergaard-Nielsen, E. (2003). Transnational politics: The case of Turks and Kurds in Germany. Routledge.

Østergaard‐Nielsen, E. K. (2001). “Transnational political practices and the receiving state: Turks and Kurds in Germany and the Netherlands”, Global Networks, 1(3): 261-282.

Pew Research Center. (2016). “Even in Era of Disillusionment, Many Around the World Say Ordinary Citizens Can Influence Government” Retrieved from:

Platt, L., Wall, M., Rhodes, T., Judd, A., Hickman, M., Johnston, L. G., ... and Sarang, A. (2006). "Methods to recruit hard-to-reach groups: comparing two chain referral sampling methods of recruiting injecting drug users across nine studies in Russia and Estonia". Journal of Urban Health, 83(1): 39-53.

Portes, A. (2003). “Conclusion: Theoretical convergencies and empirical evidence in the study of immigrant transnationalism”, International migration review, 37(3), 874-892.

Portes, A., Escobar, C. and Radford, A. W. (2007). “Immigrant transnational organizations and development: A comparative study”, International migration review, 41(1): 242-281.

Portes, A., Guarnizo, L. E. and Haller, W. J. (2002). “Transnational entrepreneurs: An alternative form of immigrant economic adaptation”, American sociological review: 278-298.

Portes, A., Guarnizo, L. E. and Landolt, P. (1999). “The study of transnationalism: pitfalls and promise of an emergent research field”, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 22(2): 217–237.

Pries, L. (2002). “La migración transnacional y la perforación de los contenedores de Estados-nación”, Estudios demográficos y urbanos: 571-597.

Putnam, R. (1995). “Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital”, Journal of Democracy,: 65-78.

Riedel, S. (2017). “The problems of assessing transnational mobility: Identifying latent groups of immigrants in Germany using factor mixture analysis”, Social Indicators Research, 131(1): 271-290.

Sheller, M., and Urry, J. (2006). “The New Mobilities Paradigm”. Environment and Planning A 38 (2): 208.

Sirkeci, I. (2009). “Transnational mobility and conflict”, Migration Letters, 6(1):3-14.

Sirkeci, I. and Cohen, J. H. (2016). “Cultures of migration and conflict in contemporary human mobility in Turkey”, European Review, 24(3): 381-396.

Sirkeci, I., Cohen, J. H. & Yazgan, P. (2012). “Turkish culture of migration: Flows between Turkey and Germany, socio-economic development and conflict”, Migration Letters, 9(1): 33.

Snel, E., Engbersen, G. and Leerkes, A. (2006). “Transnational involvement and social integration”, Global networks, 6(3), 285-308.

Tsuda, T. (2012). “Whatever Happened to Simultaneity? Transnational Migration Theory and Dual Engagement in Sending and Receiving Countries”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

Vertovec, S. (2001). “Transnationalism and identity”, Journal of Ethnic and Migration studies, 27(4): 573-582.

Vertovec, S. (2004). “Migrant transnationalism and modes of transformation 1. International”, Migration Review, 38(3): 970–1001.

Waldinger, R. (2008). “Between “here” and “there”: immigrant cross-border activities and loyalties”, International Migration Review 42(1).

Watters, J. K. and Biernacki, P. (1989). “Targeted sampling: options for the study of hidden populations”, Social problems, 36(4): 416-430

Wimer, A. and Glick-Schiller, N. (2002). “Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation-state building, migration and the social sciences”, Global Networks 2: 301–334.


  • There are currently no refbacks.