Project overview

The MIMIO project traces the emergence of the idea of an international regulation of migration in the interwar years and provides an in-depth investigation of the immediate post-World War II era in order to document the re-emergence of the debates and subsequent policies that led to the creation of the Provisional Intergovernmental Committee for the Movement of Migrants from Europe (PICCME) in 1951. It follows the political actors that attempted to turn migration into a more orderly, predictable and manageable process and assesses their motivation for doing so. It investigates the role played by the actors and the agencies involved in the creation and functioning of the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM), the strategies, practices and discourses they relied on. It seeks to explain the process of institutionalization and the generation of a set of interrelationships and practices, as well as to understand how the ICEM became a politically legitimate and accepted body. The project also documents and assesses the initial years of the ICEM during which the organization galvanized its constitution, its strategies and policies, and arranged for the resettlement of almost one million Europeans in countries overseas.


In doing so, the project explores the following:

i. Regulating mobility: the range of practices the ICEM inaugurated and developed; its projects, endeavors and failures; its collaboration with government agencies and NGOs; its relations to local actors and other foreign-based institutions; its funding and its growth in terms of budget and scope of activities, its staff profile. The research team will also prepare an overview of all the migratory movements from Europe overseas organized by the ICEM from 1952 to 1960.

ii. Organizational strategies, practices, and asymmetries of power: in addition to the examination of the organization’s formal attributes, the project also investigates: the actual decision-making processes and the discrepancies between constitutional designs and organizational practices; the overall patterns of influence that shaped organizational outcomes; the sources of influence, including the power and prestige of individual states; the formation of bureaucratic politics, organizational leadership positions and the underlying organizational culture.

iii. Knowledge, meaning and power: the project documents and analyses the discursive and cognitive framework that assigned meaning to the regulation of migration. It examines the generation of data by the ICEM on current and future labor migration and the organization’s role in shaping governmental decisions through the provision of knowledge, analyses and services. It seeks to elucidate whether the ICEM played an active role in the international politics of agenda formation.

iv. The implementation of local missions: two in depth case studies will examine the implementation of local ICEM missions in one sending and one receiving country (Greece and Australia respectively) and the migration movements organized by the ICEM from and to them. These case studies will seek to identify how international practices and knowledge were re-appropriated nationally; how these missions were implemented within a national context; and which individual and collective actors coordinated this process.