Since 2008, citizens from Southern European countries (Greece, Spain, and Portugal) have experienced severe consequences resulting from the so-called financial and Euro crises, prompting them to emigrate to Central and Northern Europe, Canada, and Australia. As Gropa and Triandafyllidou found out, there has been ‘a certain media hype about these new emigration waves from Southern European countries’ while ‘little is known about who is actually emigrating, why they are leaving, where they are going, or for how long they plan to emigrate’ (2014, pp. 1614). On the one hand, media reports suggest that the new Southern European emigrants are young, single, and highly skilled. Due to these circumstances, they are flexible and willing to emigrate in order to improve their professional opportunities. A number of recent academic studies in economics and social sciences have also addressed the so-called brain drain phenomenon, discussing family backgrounds only in the margins of their accounts (cf. Labrianidis 2013; Labrianidis/Vogiatzis 2013; Triandafyllidou/Gropas 2014; in contrast to this, see Pratsinakis 2019, in preparation). On the other hand, there have been a number of analyses of media reports from Greece concerning families with (school-age) children who have been confronted with the grave deterioration of their living standards in the wake of the financial crisis (cf. Nikolaou 2013): This deterioration has been particularly significant in the areas of health and education, with increases being observed in the percentage of children suffering from ill health and the associated negative consequences for their school performance. For this reason, it was to be expected that families with (young) children would already have left the country or would be preparing to do so. Thus, Greece’s migration history is repeating itself ‘half a century later, in new circumstances and with new protagonists’ (Damanakis 2014, p. 168).

For a time, dealing with families was of marginal interest within migration research in Germany, although international migration has long been recognised as a collective undertaking of family associations. What appears necessary is a change of perspective in migration research, that is to say, not only to consider individuals but also or particularly their familial networks and family practices. Therefore, at the ECER Conference 2015 and 2016 and within the symposia ‘Recent Studies on New Migration of Families’ ( and ‘Family Practices and Orders of Migration’  ( we focused on current migration from Greece on the grounds of the European financial crisis and highlighted the ensuing challenges for education systems. We wished to deepen the connection between family and migration research in the field of educational science, emphasising family orders of migration experiences as a thematic focus by extending our perspective to European and extra European migration movements. We thereby intended to address not only the diversity of current family migration, but the similarities and differences within the respective familial negotiations of migration experiences as well.

One result of our discussion was that only few theoretical concepts allow a connection between family and migration research within the field of educational science and are available as of now. For instance, new orders of family structures can be grasped when examined under theoretical perspectives such as ‘transnationality’ and ‘multilocality’, thus challenging dominant concepts of family. Further, active and permanent practices by family members can be seized using another theoretical concept, namely ‘doing family’ (Morgan 2011).

In our project titled  ‘New (Educational) Migration as a “Family Project” and a Challenge in Two Different Educational Systems – Quebec, Canada and North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’ (part of the Competence Area VI SINTER – Social Inequalities and Intercultural Education, for further details see, we focus on the interpretations of migration experiences by individual family members from a total of 8 families in Canada and 23 in Germany as well as on how these experiences are being negotiated between generations with the aforementioned theoretical references in mind.

Another result of our discussion sheds light on the empirical question how family is constructed under the conditions of migration, which family orders of migration are thereby completed and what strategies are being developed. Initial findings of our analyses indicate that the phenomenon ‘New Migration from Greece’ not only has a historic dimension but is also new insofar that it is distinct from the European labour migration of the 1960s with respect to migrants’ goals and motives as well as their social and socio-economic backgrounds. Additionally, it has become evident that those parents who were part of the (upper) middle class in Greece were less concerned with issues of social mobility and were primarily motivated to (re-)create stability through the education of their children in Germany and Canada (Panagiotopoulou/Rosen 2018 and 2019, in preparation). This leads to the following questions: From the perspectives of parents and children, if and how do the educational systems of these classic immigration societies (Canada and Germany) promote social justice and educational equality?

These and other shared questions are discussed in the volume ‘‘New’ Migration of Families from Greece to Europe and Canada - A ‘New’ Challenge for Education?’, to be published by Springer VS and edited by Chatzidaki, Kirsch, Panagiotopoulou and Rosen in the series ‘Inclusion and Education in Migration Societies’ in early 2019.


Damanakis, M. (2014): New Migration to Germany. In: Damanakis, M./Constantinides, S./Tamis, A. (Eds.): New Migration from Greece and to Greece. University of Crete: K.E.ME. Centre for Intercultural and Migration Studies (EDIAMME), pp. 139–175 (in Greek).

Labrianidis, L. (2013): Investing in Leaving: The Greek Case of International Migration of Professionals. In: Mobilities, 9(2), pp. 314–335.

Labrianidis, L./Vogiatzis, N. (2013): Highly Skilled Migration: What Differentiates the ‘Brains’ Who Are Drained from Those Who Return in the Case of Greece? In: Population, Space and Place, 19(5), pp. 472–486.

Morgan, D. H. J. (2011). Rethinking Family Practices. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Panagiotopoulou, A./Rosen, L. (2018): Neue Migration nach Deutschland und Kanada als Bildungsmigration: Zur Notwendigkeit und den Herausforderungen einer international vergleichenden Migrations- und Familienforschung. In: von Dewitz, N./Terhart, H./Massumi, M. (Eds.): Neuzuwanderung und Bildung. Eine interdisziplinäre Perspektive auf Übergänge in das deutsche Bildungssystem. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa, pp. 324–337.

Panagiotopoulou, A./Rosen, L. (2019): New Migration to Germany and Canada as Educational Migration: The Necessity and Challenges of International Comparative Migration and Family Research. In: Chatzidaki, A./Kirsch, C./ Panagiotopoulou, A./Rosen, L. (Eds.): ‘New’ Migration of Families from Greece to Europe and Canada: A ‘New’ Challenge for Education? Wiesbaden: Springer VS (in preparation)

Pratsinakis, M. (2019): Family‚Äźrelated migration and the crisis-driven outflow from Greece. In: Chatzidaki, A./Kirsch, C./ Panagiotopoulou, A./Rosen, L. (Eds.): ‘New’ Migration of Families from Greece to Europe and Canada: A ‘New’ Challenge for Education? Wiesbaden: Springer VS (in preparation).

Triandafyllidou, A./Gropas, R. (2014). “Voting With Their Feet”: Highly Skilled Emigrants From Southern Europe. In: American Behavioral Scientist, 58(12), pp. 1614–1633.