The Migrations and Society Research Unit (URMIS) is specialised in the study of migrations and interethnic relations, and unites the universities Paris Diderot and Nice Sophia Antipolis with the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD, UMR205) and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS, UMR8245). URMIS brings together not only research groups located in Paris and Nice, but also researchers from a variety of disciplines (sociology, anthropology, political science, social psychology, history).
The empirical research conducted in the different programmes of the research unit enables debate and comparison of theoretical and methodological concerns related to the insertion of immigrant populations, the management of immigration issues by institutions and political parties, the creation of transnational migratory spaces, and the cultural dynamics in multiethnic societies.
The mutual orientation of the research unit repudiates any essentialist approach toward national, ethnic or cultural groups, which are clearly situated as historical and social constructions. It accentuates the institutional and interactional processes through which collective identities are produced, maintained or transformed. The research scope covers fundamental theoretical questions in the field of social sciences : the symbolic construction of collective identities, the analysis of the social processes of discrimination, the mechanisms of social categorisation, and the production and usage of categories of otherness.
The research unit oversees two Masters, at Paris Diderot and Nice Sophia Antipolis, and has the role of supervising doctoral and post-doctoral research specialised in the field of migrations and interethnic relations. The unit in Nice is also a founder member of the "Maison des sciences de l’homme et de la société" (MSHS, literally "House of the Sciences of Man and Society").