Portrait of Dr Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels

Dr Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels

Academic Director


  Amanda Klekowski von Koppenfels received her PhD in Government and MA in Germany and European Studies from Georgetown University, Washington, DC. She received an AB from Harvard University. Prior to teaching at the University of Kent, she held positions at the University of Münster (Germany) and at the International Organization for Migration. Since being at Kent, she has been Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for European Studies 2012-13 and Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna, in the Research Group Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion, in Autumn 2009. Her most recent publications include Migrants or Expatriates? Americans in Europe (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014), "'The distance between us': a comparative examination of the technical, spatial and temporal dimensions of the transnational social relationships of highly skilled migrants" (with Louise Ryan and Jon Mulholland) in Global Networks,  " 'Gotta go visit family': Reconsidering the relationship between tourism and transnationalism" (with Louise Ryan and Jon Mulholland) in Population, Space and Place and "Americans Abroad: A Disillusioned Diaspora?" (http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/americans-abroad-disillusioned-diaspora).

Research interests

Dr. Klekowski von Koppenfels' current research interests focus on the concept of diaspora and transnational engagement of migrants, in particular with respect to Global North migrants, although she remains interested in the phenomena more broadly. Her most recent research has focused on the integration, identity and transnational engagement of Americans in Europe. She poses the question, with respect to Americans, "What is a migrant?" Her other research interests include citizenship, the political participation of migrants in host societies and co-ethnic return migration, in particular with respect to the post-war evolution of German citizenship policy. She is also interested in the interaction between formal and substantive citizenship and the interaction between integration and transnationalism. She has conducted both qualitative and quantitative research.



  • Ryan, L., von Koppenfels, A. and Mulholland, J. (2015). ’The distance between us’: a comparative examination of the technical, spatial and temporal dimensions of the transnational social relationships of highly skilled migrants. Global Networks [Online] 15:198-216. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/glob.12054.
    In this article, through comparing two highly skilled migrant groups in London, we explore how new types of information and communication technologies (ICTs) shape the form and content of transnational practices through time and space. In so doing, we aim to contribute to several debates in the field of migration studies. First, our findings highlight enduring practical constraints emanating from everyday routines and responsibilities, thus questioning the extent to which ICTs may be shrinking the globe and freeing people, even highly skilled ones, from spatial and temporal fixity. Second, we challenge assumptions about the ease of transnationalism by exploring the range and complexity of long-distance interpersonal relationships and their dynamics over time. Third, by focusing on a comparison of relatively affluent, highly skilled migrants, we question the usefulness of the category of ‘middling migrants’. Our findings illustrate that, within this general and wide ranging category, there are diverse experiences, expectations and opportunities of maintaining contact with friends and family at home.
  • von Koppenfels, A., Mulholland, J. and Ryan, L. (2015). ‘Gotta Go Visit Family’: Reconsidering the Relationship Between Tourism and Transnationalism. Population, Space and Place [Online]. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.1916.
    A comparative examination of two groups of highly skilled Global North migrants – US citizens (Americans) in London, Berlin, and Paris and French citizens in London – this paper explores the nature of these migrants’ visits home, situating these visits between tourism and transnationalism. We question whether there has been a tendency to conceptualise visits home by migrants from the Global North as tourism and those from the Global South as transnational engagement. We found that our study participants’ visits home often incorporated visits to family, relaxation, tourism, and cultural transmission to children, suggesting there is not a clear distinction between tourism and transnationalism. At the same time, we noted a certain tension between transnationalism, here primarily familial obligations, and tourism, as migrants sought to balance a felt need to visit family and a desire to have some aspect of relaxation or tourism. Visits home also often necessitated negotiations of social relations
    – often in both home and host countries. Finally, we noted a bidirectionality in visits: migrants visited home, but family and friends visited them as well, which also serves to maintain social connections with home, suggesting that the implications of this
    bidirectionality for the nature of transnationalism are an area for future research.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2014). Migrants or expatriates? US citizens as a migrant group. Migration Policy Practice [Online] IV:16-19. Available at: http://publications.iom.int/bookstore/free/MPP16_24June2014.pdf.
  • von Koppenfels, A. and Costanzo, J. (2013). Counting the Uncountable: Overseas Americans. Migration Information Source [Online]. Available at: http://www.migrationinformation.org/USfocus/display.cfm?ID=951.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2004). Second-Class Citizens? Restricted Freedom of Movement for Spätaussiedler is Constitutional. German Law Journal 5:761-789.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2001). Informal but Effective: Regional Consultative Processes as a Tool in Managing Migration. International Migration 39:61-84.
    During the 1990s, the number of regional consultative processes focusing on migration increased significantly. These non-binding fora brought together representatives of States, civil society and international organizations at the regional level to discuss migration-related issues in a cooperative manner.
    Regional consultative processes, which are increasingly supported by governments, are partly a response to the growing complexity and diversity of international migration. Their emergence attests the importance that governments attach to a regional approach to migration management.

    Regional processes act informally, focusing on cooperative dialogue with an emphasis on information exchange and technical cooperation. The information exchange and confidence-building that occurs in regional processes is quite important in terms of developing links between States and influencing the likelihood of future bilateral and multilateral agreements.

    This article focuses upon the development of regional processes, using examples as illustrations. It suggests that the development of regional processes can be understood in terms of a four-stage model: first, the decision to address issues of concern in a cooperative regional forum; second, to agree upon a ''common language''; third, to agree upon a list of goals and, fourth, a shift toward a more operational process.
  • McKinley, B., von Koppenfels, A. and Laczko, F. (2001). Challenges for the 21st Century. Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy [Online] 16:68-74. Available at: http://forum.ra.utk.edu/Archives/Summer2001/challenges.pdf.


  • von Koppenfels, A. (2014). Migrants or Expatriates? Americans in Europe. [Online]. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137316301.
    While overseas Americans (American migrants) are often seen as short-term corporate transferees or backpackers, there are many other Americans – estimates range from 2 to 7 million – living overseas. Migrants or Expatriates? Americans in Europe examines the migration, integration and transnational engagement of Americans living in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. What has led them to leave the United States? How does their integration in Europe proceed? This book explores both of these questions, while also examining the case of overseas American political engagement in the United States. Drawing on almost 900 survey responses and over 100 in-depth interviews carried out with Americans in Berlin, Paris and London, Migrants or Expatriates? challenges assumptions about who overseas Americans are, and, more broadly, who migrants are.

Book section

  • von Koppenfels, A. (2014). Migration von AussiedlerInnen: Wandel der politischen Perspektive. In: Rueckkehr in Die Fremde? Ethnische Remigration Russlanddeutscher Spaetaussiedler. Berlin: Frank & Timme GmbH, pp. 19-34.
    This chapter is an examination of the so-called return of ethnic Germans (Aussiedler) to Germany from the former Soviet Union. It argues that the shift in the 1990s away from Aussiedler policy can be explained by the poor socio-economic integration of the migrants themselves.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2013). Political Transnationalism in a New Light?. In: Halm, D. and Sezgin, Z. eds. Migration and Organized Civil Society: Rethinking National Policy. Routledge. Available at: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415691987/.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2013). Testing for Integration and Belonging or a new Barrier to Entry? Citizenship Tests in the United States and Germany. In: Atac, I. and Rosenberger, S. eds. Politik Der Inklusion Und Exklusion. V&R unipress. Available at: http://www.v-r.de/de/title-0-0/politik_der_inklusion_und_exklusion-1008330/.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2009). From Germans to Migrants: Aussiedler Migration to Germany. In: Tsuda, T. ed. Diasporic Homecomings: Ethnic Return Migration in Comparative Perspective. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 103-132.
  • Hillman, F. and von Koppenfels, A. (2009). Migration and human rights: the United Nations Convention on Migrant Workers’ Rights. In: de Guchtenaire, P., Pecoud, A. and Cholewinski, R. eds. Migration and Human Rights The United Nations Convention on Migrant Workers’ Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 322-342.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2003). The Political Opportunity Structure of Co-Ethnic Migrant Mobilization; Post Cold-War Co-Ethnic Migrants to Israel and Germany. In: Münz, R. and Ohliger, R. eds. Diasporas and Ethnic Migrants: Germany, Israel and Russia in Comparative Perspective. Oxford: Frank Cass, pp. 305-323.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2003). Willkommene Gäste oder tolerierte Fremde? Entwicklung der Aussiedlerpolitik und -verwaltung. In: Oltmer, J. ed. Migration Steuern Und Verwalten: Deutschland Vom späten 19. Jahrhundert Bis Zum Gegenwart. Osnabrück: IMIS, pp. 399-420.
  • Latapi, A. and von Koppenfels, A. (2003). The Puebla Process - a case Study of Regional Consultative Process Development. In: World Migration 2003: Managing Migration, Challenges and Responses for People on the Move. Geneva: International Organization for Migration, Geneva, pp. 125-126.
  • Kraler, A., Laczko, F. and von Koppenfels, A. (2002). Recent Trends in Asylum Applications in and from Central and Eastern Europe. In: Laczko, F., Stacher, I. and von Koppenfels, A. K. eds. New Challenges for Migraiton Policy in Central and Eastern Europe. The Hague: TMC Asser Press, pp. 11-26.
  • Laczko, F., von Koppenfels, A. and Barthel, J. (2002). Trafficking in Women from Central and Eastern Europe: A Review of Statistical Data. In: Laczko, F., Stacher, I. and von Koppenfels, A. K. eds. New Challenges for Migration Policy in Central and Eastern Europe. The Hague: TMC Asser Press, pp. 153-174.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2002). The Devolution of Privilege: The Legal Background of the Migration of Ethnic Germans. In: Rock, D. and Wolff, S. eds. Coming Home to Germany? The Integration of Ethnic Germans from Central and Eastern Europe in the Federal Republic. Oxford: Berghahn Books, pp. 102-118.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2001). Traditionelles Rezept, neue Zutaten. Kommentar zu: Die deutschen Bundesländer im Vergleich. In: Akgün, L. and Thränhardt, D. eds. Integrationspolitik in föderalistischen Systemen Im Vergleich. Münster: LIT Verlag, pp. 139-150.
  • von Koppenfels, A. (2001). Politically Minded: The Case of Aussiedler as an Idelogically Defined Category. In: Hunger, U., Meendermann, K., Santel, B. and Woyke, W. eds. Migration in erklärten Und unerklärten Einwanderungsländern: Ein Geschenk Von Schülern Und Studenten Zum 60. Geburtstag Von Dietrich Thränhardt. Münster: LIT Verlag, pp. 89-120.
  • Laczko, F. and von Koppenfels, A. (2000). Migrant Smuggling and Human Trafficking in Europe: A Note on Data and Definitions. In: Cinar, D., Gächter, A. and Waldrauch, H. eds. Irregular Migration: Dynamics, Impact, Policy Options. Vienna: European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, pp. 195-203.

Edited book

  • Laczko, F., Stacher, I. and von Koppenfels, A.K. eds. (2002). New Challenges for Migration Policy in Central and Eastern Europe. Vol. 1. The Hague: Asser Press.
    Since the fall of the Berlin Wall the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have had to deal with a completely new set of legislative and policy challenges relating to migration. This book reviews current and expected migration trends in Central and Eastern Europe, including trends in labour migration, transit migration, trafficking and migrant smuggling. It considers how EU enlargement eastwards is likely to affect international migration in Europe. It also examines how much progress the Central and Eastern European countries have made in aligning their migration legislation and migration policies with EU practice. The book concludes that virtually all the candidate countries appear to be on track as far as legislative developments are concerned, but few countries have seriously and systematically examined the question of what kind of migration policy they wish to develop in the future.


  • Hassouneh, N. (2015). (Re)tuning Statelessness.
    Academic knowledge production on Palestine and its people has been very resonant for decades. Yet, and despite the high frequency of production, some aspects of Palestine and Palestinians have not been investigated nor brought together thus far. This composition fuses three reverberations that accompany Palestinians living away from their homeland: statelessness, diasporisation, and (de)mobilisation. The dissertation is approaching the study of the Palestinian diaspora as a musical composition which has not been heard yet, for that the study of Palestinians as a diaspora is yet to generate audible sounds, the study of stateless diasporas in general still falls under the category of abnormal, an investigation of the Palestinian diaspora’s political mobilisation is nonexistent, and the study of Palestinian statelessness under a non-legal lens has been mute so far, leaving a wide gap deserving further investigation.

    By studying the cases of Palestinian diasporisation in the heterogeneous settings of Belgium, Jordan, and Lebanon, and fusing a set of methodological approaches including taxonomy of analysis, (participant) observation, exploring verbal and nonverbal communication via interviews, and examining space & material culture, this research aims to investigate the effects of statelessness on the shapes, intensities, and dynamics of diaspora organisation and mobilisation.

    Investigating the heterogeneities of the Palestinian diaspora’s political mobilisation in the three studied cases echoed the criticality of the role of statelessness in homogenising what would otherwise remain heterogeneous due to the immense differences in the settings enabling or disabling movement. The effects of this statelessness, this absence of a backbone, touch various diaspora-specific elements including Palestinian-ness, historiographies, geographies, temporalities, autonomization, organisation, and mobilisation. All of which are aspects this composition investigates thematically by mapping theory to empirical findings.

    Fusing statelessness, diasporisation, and political mobilisation can open alternative doors to understanding peoples belonging to homelands not enjoying a state status in the era of states, examples of which are Kurds, Circassians, and Roma, to name a few. It helps comprehend the actions of peoples attempting to embrace their
    homeland by mobilising for its causes despite being isolated from it.
    Furthermore, studying the abnormal is a way to understanding both abnormal
    and normal alike; therefore, studying the stateless diasporas can help in reaching to better understandings of the stateless and the state-linked diasporas.


  • Klekowski von Koppenfels, A. (2020). Federal Structure and Party Politics as Simultaneous Opportunity and Constraint: Transnational Political Engagement of overseas Americans. In: Kernalegenn, T. and van Haute, E. eds. Political Parties Abroad: A New Arena for Party Politics. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge.
    This chapter examines the differential inclusion of overseas Americans in the American polity; overseas Americans are included, and vote, as individual citizens in all primary and general elections but are recognized as a distinct overseas constituency only in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary. Constitutional, federal and state law shapes this differential American inclusion. The right to vote was extended on the basis of a constitutional right to electoral equality. On the other hand, an overseas constituency in which US citizens voted for dedicated representatives would be possible only with a constitutional amendment. In a state with a strong sense of itself as an immigration country, and not as a state with a diaspora identity, such an amendment is unlikely. The contestation of the profile of the overseas American population feeds into this discussion. Party-led inclusion is the strongest way in which overseas US citizens can be included as a distinct constituency.
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