Innovative Concepts And Methods
MATILDE is a participatory and transdisciplinary research project that combines diverse expertise spanning from migration and integration studies, demography, geography, sociology, economics, political sciences and philosophy of science.
It develops an innovative conceptual and methodological framework to assess the impact of migration in rural and mountain areas. By adopting a participatory approach, the project also promotes a change in perceptions and practices. The projects considers placed-based and path-dependent factors that contribute to determining the impact of TCNs in rural and mountain regions. MATILDE considers the spaces were TCNs settle down are both the input and the output of a process of collective production of places (Lefebvre, 1968), and examines the active role TCNs may have in generative processes that support local development in rural and mountain regions, conductive to the redefinition and renegotiation of the social space.
The assessment of the socio-economic impacts of migration is co-constructed together with local stakeholders, placing specific attention to account for the agency of TCNs, that is their active role in shaping their integration path and the potential for them to take part in processes of local development.
MATILDE conceives integration as a two-way process, equally involving newcomers and receiving societies. Integration is understood in the project as a multidimensional, non-linear process through which new population groups are included, according to different gradients, into the existing systems of socio-economic, legal and cultural relations (Ager and Strang, 2008; Heckmann, 2003; Penninx and Garcés-Mascareñas, 2016).
MATILDE focuses on TCNs as a broad category encompassing diverse groups whose boundaries are blurred and shifting. In rural and mountain regions such mobilities include, among the others, depopulation trends, leisure and amenity migration (Kordel and Weidinger, 2018; Blinder and Markaki, 2018), asylum seekers and refugees resettled outside urban centres, as well as labour-induced migrations, particularly seasonal work in the agricultural and tourism sectors (Consterdine and Hampshire, 2016).
MATILDE aims to shed light on the development potential of migration. In the wake of the researches initiated by the ForAlps network, MATILDE case studies contribute to investigate local development processes that take specific forms in rural and mountain areas.
Urban-Rural relationships are made up of material and immaterial flows. People, economic resource, information, cultural and social capital, skills and practices are all elements that constitute the urban-rural linkages. MATILDE adopts the perspective of rural-urban relations with the aim to produce new knowledge on spatial justice (Miosga 2016) and sustainable regional development (Mayer, 2016).