GERME Groupe de recherche sur les Relations Ethniques, les Migrations et l’Egalité (GERME)
Group for research on Ethnic Relations, Migration and Equality (GERME)

Institut de Sociologie, Université Libre de Bruxelles

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Présentation du centre


GERME is a research group of social scientists (trained in sociology, anthropology and/or political science) studying processes of inclusion and exclusion in the context of diverse societies that are marked by social inequalities. Although initially mainly focussing its research activities on racism, migration, exclusion and ethnicity, researchers based at GERME are now working on a wide range of topics. These include – without being exhaustive - citizenship practices, multiculturalism, migrant integration policy, urban policy, gender relations, xenophobia, labour market inclusion, education, culture, religion, political participation, social networks and social stratification. In our research work there is a firm emphasis on processes of ethnicisation and racialisation, on the reproduction of social inequalities and on relations between ethno-cultural minority and majority groups.

GERME aims to investigate both state responses to ethnic diversity and social inequalities, lived experiences of citizens in diverse and class-divided societies and social and political mobilisation (of both marginalised as empowered groups). Although we have a particular interest in the study of Belgian society (Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders), our research projects are not necessarily limited to these geographical boundaries and often have an internationally comparative dimension.

Researchers at GERME do not believe there is a universally best set of technical tools and use both qualitative as quantitative methods and mixed methods approaches. We invest in methodological expertise for handling both ethnographic and case study challenges as advanced multivariate statistical analysis.

GERME has a particular research interest for the Brussels metropolis, where it is located, in view of its remarkable characteristics. Indeed, Brussels is one of the richest regions of Europe but a substantial part of its population is at risk of poverty and lives in disfavoured neighbourhoods. In the city, social and ethnic stratification is increasingly intertwined and reflected in spatial segregation. It is an officially bilingual city, located on the intersection of Latin and Germanic cultures and housing some of the main EU institutions. In this socially and ethnically diverse urban environment all kinds of hybrid identities flourish. Given this context, a key research interest of GERME is the interaction between management of ethno-cultural diversity linked to the phenomenon of immigration on the one hand and the power struggle between the dominant linguistic groups in Belgium on the other hand.