About Us

Lima UCLouvain

The LIMA project started in the fall 2015 et runs for a period of 5 years. It is an ARC project (Concerted Research Actions) bringing together different research centres of the University of Louvain (UCLouvain) and aiming at confronting the normative environment with the concrete realities of immigration.

Objective

This project examines how the Belgian and European legal frameworks correlate with third country national migrants’ agency. It aims to study the ways in which the existing legal framework impacts migrants’ family and professional trajectories and to what extent it affords them the ‘capability’ (Sen, 1993) to develop their lives according to their personal aspirations. To do so, it analyses the relationship between legal norms and migrants’ life-course through both a top-down and a bottom-up approach: from the norms to the migrants and then from the migrants to the norms with a view to proposing means to enhance migrants’ decisional autonomy.

By conducting a comparative analysis of the opportunities and constraints offered by various legal statuses on migrant’ families, mobility rights, professional trajectories, and the strategies these actors develop to deal with the legal framework, this project reveals the unequal constraints exerted by legal norms on individual choices and the subsisting margins of autonomy, depending on a series of factors including not only legal statuses, but also ethnicity, gender, level of education, and socio-economic status.

The scientific aim is twofold : understand how legal frameworks shape migrants' professional, family and migratory trajectories and life projects; and analyse if, and which strategies migrants develop to bend the rules and circumvent obstacles, and/or use the opportunities offered by legal systems to fulfil their professional and family aspirations.  This leads us to address two questions that lie at the core of social sciences: the relationship between structure and agency, and social inequalities. The project also furthers our understanding of the inadequacy of normative constructions of 'the' family underlying migration policies, and the reality of migrants' family structures and dynamics.

Our Team

Sylvie Sarolea

Full Professor, Coordinator of the European Laws and Migrations Team

Research Areas :
international migrations, migration law, private international law, human rights law, interdisciplinary approach, Cooperation European Union – Africa in migration law

Geographical Area :
Belgium, European Union

Laura Merla

Professor of Sociology

Research Areas :
Transnational and multi-local families; gender and migration; care circulation and intergenerational solidarities; social policies and migration policies.

Geographical Area :
Europe, Latin America, Australia.

Jacques Marquet

Professor of Sociology

Research Areas :
families, couples, sexualities.
Geographical Area :
Belgium.

Bruno Schoumaker

Professor of demography

Research Areas :
measuring international migration, migration between Africa and Europe, economic insertion of migrants, demographic changes in Africa, data collection and analysis methods

Geographical Area :
Sub-Saharian Africa (DR Congo, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Sénégal), Europe

Christine Flamand

Researcher

Research Areas :
international migrations, migration law, human rights law, interdisciplinary approach.
Geographical Area :
Belgium, European Union

Jean-Baptiste Farcy

PhD student

Research Areas :
European and Belgian immigration law, status of foreign workers, economic immigration.

Geographical Area :
Europe, Belgium, Canada.

Sarah Smit

PhD student and F.R.S-FNRS research fellow

Research Areas :
International migration, migration policies, migration strategies, longitudinal approach, personal networks, gender studies, higher education and migration.
Geographical Area :
Europe, Belgium

Giacommo Orsini

ARC Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Areas :
international migrations, border studies, asylum, governance, governmentality, sociology of everyday life, maritime sociology, qualitative methods.

Geographical Area :
Mediterranean Europe (Italy and Spain), North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia and Libya), Belgium

Sophie Vause

Researcher

Research Areas :
gender and migration, networks and migration.
Geographical Area :
Belgium, DRC

Sarah Carpentier

Postdoctoral Researcher

Research Areas :
migration, socio-professional insertion, poverty and social inclusion, longitudinal research and life course perspective, (European) social policy
Geographical Area :
Europe

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