Inclusion of refugees in Lower Austria

This research project is conducted at the Ilse Arlt Institute for Social Inclusion Research and it is part of the cross-institutional research network FIRST (Forschungsnetzwerk Interdisziplinäre Regionalstudien). The project concentrates on acquiring systematized knowledge about social inclusion and exclusion practices regarding refugees in Lower Austrian rural communities.

Austria as an immigration country

From a historical point of view Austria has significant experience in dealing with migration in context of labour and warfare for the most part from nearby countries. Over the course of the last decade migration patterns as well as countries of origin diversified: An increasing number of persons compulsorily immigrate to Austria from geographically remote countries. Migration forecasts suggest that this process will go on over the next few years. Therefore, there are completely new challenges in involving migrants in extant communities. As a result, it appears necessary to develop appropriate practices of social inclusion.

Common inclusion and exclusion practices

It is obvious that a scientific basis for understanding contemporary practices of inclusion and exclusion of refugees is an essential requirement. In more detail and building on this basis, the research project will contribute to developing social work interventions on the process of social inclusion. In exploring migrants' involvements in rural communities the project applies the theoretical concept of social inclusion in deliberate contrast to the concept of integration.


The project applies qualitative research methods, such as:

  • narrative interviews and group discussions on one hand with refugees and on the other hand with members of the given society
  • participant observations taking place in refugee accommodation and at events bringing together refugees and members of the given community
  • artifact analysis exploring material culture


As a long term goal this research project will enhance scientific knowledge about refugees' inclusion into communities. As a result it develops a basis for both social work interventions and for policy consultation.

External Staff
Gabriele Drack-Mayer (until 01.03.2018)
  • Institute for Jewish History in Austria (INJOEST), St. Pölten (A)
  • Institute of Rural History (IGLR), St. Pölten (A)
  • Institut für Realienkunde des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit, Krems/Donau
  • Ludwig Boltzmann Institut für Kriegsfolgen-Forschung, Rabbs/Thaya
  • Zentrum für Migrationsforschung, St. Pölten
FTI (Research, Technology, Innovation) programme of Lower Austria
04/01/2016 – 12/31/2018
Involved Institutes, Groups and Centers
Ilse Arlt Institute for Social Inclusion Research