Life at the frontier: The impact of social frontiers on the social mobility and integration of migrants

Neighbourhood boundaries can act as social frontiers, which have an impact on the social mobility and integration of migrant groups in the UK, Norway and Sweden.

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The rise in international migration has brought important cultural and economic opportunities for migrants and wider society, but has also posed challenges in terms of integration and settlement. Successful integration entails migrants being able to achieve “outcomes within employment, housing, education, health etc. which are equivalent to those achieved within the wider host communities” (UK Home Office report, 2004).

Prof. Gwilym Pryce, Dr Aneta Piekut and Dr Andrew Bell are part of the Life at the Frontier research study, an international project which analyses the way integration can be hindered by neighbourhood boundaries - the areas of transition between communities. The study suggests that these boundaries are especially meaningful when they represent social frontiers, which arise when neighbouring communities are very different in terms of their cultural, ethnic and/or social make-up, and when the spatial transition in these characteristics is abrupt, rather than gradual.

This project will examine the impact of social frontiers on social mobility and integration among migrant groups in the UK, Norway, and Sweden using qualitative research and pioneering quantitative methods. The research team spans multiple disciplines (sociology, economics, human geography, education, anthropology, social statistics, social psychology) and will collaborate closely with a range of stakeholders at the local and national level.

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