Refugee Migration and Cities

Refugee Migration and Cities: Social Institutions, Political Governance and Integration in Jordan, Turkey and Sweden (SIPGI), Co-Principal Investigator, 2019-2025


Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash

The recent refugee crisis in Europe is primarily an urban phenomenon, and one that creates new economic, social and political challenges. This program investigates how urban municipalities address forced migration, considering how it not only changes the social composition of neighborhoods but also influences norms and behaviors within them. The program will implement collaborative research projects in cities hosting influxes of Syrian refugees in countries with very different policies towards migrants: Sweden, Jordan and Turkey. This program provides an infrastructure for collaboration between international scholars with expertise in migration studies, political science, and sociology in the Nordic region and the Middle East. Using innovative methods including large N surveys (6,000 respondents in each country), elite interviews, focus groups, and field experiments using virtual reality 360 video technology and face-to-face dialogues with refugees, this program investigates and analyzes the nexus between political and social institutions in shaping processes of integration and fills a critical gap in migration studies. Only 11% of applications were funded. With Andrea Spehar (Co-Principal Investigator), Josepha Wessels, Isabel Schierenbeck, Ellen Lust, and Mine Eder. Funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet 17.7 million SEK (~2 million USD)).


Kao, K. & Wessels, J. (2020). From Apathy to Empathy? The Effects of Face-to-Face Dialogue and Virtual Reality Immersion on Attitudes towards Refugees of War in Sweden, Turkey, and Jordan,” and “Building Bridges? Intergroup Contact, Power Status, and Coexistence in Jordan. Governance and Local Development Guest Scholar Workshop with Claire Adida, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg.

Related Presentations:

Kao, K. (2022). “Immigrant and Refugee Incorporation in Turkey,” Panel Chair, American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Sep. 28 – Oct. 3 2021.

Spehar, A. and Kao, K. (2021). Presentations to the Youth International Think Tank at Lindholmen Visual Arena on ”Living in Europe: Work, Welfar, and Family” and “Challenges for Democracy in Post-Conflict Settings” with Q&A on migration issues, November 23.