452.2 (What) did we learn from history? current debates on circular migration in Germany

Friday, August 3, 2012: 9:20 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Ludger PRIES , Chair of Sociology/Organisation, Migration, Participation, Ruhr-Universitšt Bochum, Germany
Since the late 1950s Germany developed guest-worker programs with a multitude of – mainly Mediterranean – countries. Although successful for migrants, countries of origin and of arrival in some aspects, these programs had many effects not intended by the actors involved. During the last years and mainly due to projected demographic challenges there rose up new debates on circular migration. The paper will analyze to which extend these new debates took up the most important lessons learned from the older guest-worker experience. It will be argued that despite of a triple-win-discourse a narrow one-sided utilitarian approach dominates.

The paper will (1) summarize the principal outcomes of the guest-worker program in Germany as stated in related empirical studies, (2) present the scenarios of labour market development for the next decades to come, (3) resume the crucial criteria discussed and developed by international scholars and at the EU-level more recently for circular migration strategies and (4) on this background and based on analyzing statements of political parties and interest groups like employer associations and unions evaluate the probability of (a) putting into practice new circular migration programs and (b) actually integrating the ‘lessons learned’ from the older guest-worker programs.