Dr Christin Heß

Research Associate - Aston Centre for Europe

Christin Hess

Dr Christin Hess joined the Aston Centre for Europe (ACE) as a Research Fellow in September 2012. She defended her PhD with no corrections at Bath in 2012 and holds a MA with Distinction in Contemporary European Politics and a First Class Bachelor of Honours in Russian and Politics.

She is currently working with Professor Simon Green on a two-year DAAD-funded research project entitled ‘The Political Challenge of Managing Migration in Germany and the UK: 1997-2010’. By comparing migration policy making across its constituent sectors and investigating how successive governments of both countries attempted to resolve often contradictory pressures, this study seeks to develop an integrated framework for understanding the evolution of migration policy which can then be applied to other case studies and particularly to comparative policy analysis. The project is multidisciplinary – as the phenomenon of migration itself – involving theories and methods of political science, political sociology and area studies. The study adopts a broadly ethnographic approach to ‘thick’ data collection’ in Germany, the UK and Brussels. In conjunction with this research, two bilateral expert round tablescommissioned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, have already been held in London and Berlin. They fed directly into this research and facilitated a dialogue between frontline politicians and senior policy experts from both countries and from Brussels.

The research Christin is working on at Aston builds on her interest in comparative migration research which she already worked on during her PhD. Her doctoral research, drawing on a mixed-method design and ethnographic fieldwork in Russian, comparatively analysed mobility and integration processes of co-ethnic migrants from the former Soviet Union in Western Europe, contrasting Greek and German diasporas for the first time. She is currently developing this work further while also focusing on the relevance and impact of migration policy (policy report forthcoming).

Christin has previously worked for the Goethe Institute Moscow. She used to be a PR Officer and translator at the International Centre for Technological Cooperation, Khimki (Moscow) and held short research contracts at the Ministry for Justice and European Affairs and the University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt. Christin reviews articles for Europe-Asia Studies and maintains an active interest in Russian politics.

  • PhD ‘Comparing post-Soviet diasporas. The integration of ethnic  Greeks and ethnic Germans in their ‘historical homelands’: identity, housing and labour market (University of Bath, no amendments)
  • MA with Distinction in Contemporary European Politics: Policy and Society (University of Bath, Univerzita Karlova v Praze, Università degli Studi di Siena)
  • BA with First Class Honours in Russian and Politics, University of Bath
  • Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy 
  • Undergraduate:Comparative European Politics; Political Ideologies; American Politics; Key Concepts in Politics; Transitions to Democracy; German politics and society; Economics and industrial relations; German Written Language; Essay Writing and Research Skills
  • Postgraduate: Research methods; Research, transferable and presentation skills; Essay and dissertation writing; How to write research proposals. History and Politics of Migration in Europe after 1945; EU migration policy-making
  • Study Support and Academic Skills Training:Continuing her study support teaching at Bath, Christin founded and convenes a study support group for Undergraduate and Postgraduate students at Aston with her colleague Amarjit Lahel. The series offers practical workshops and individual consultations on dissertation writing, essay writing skills, exam preparation and research skills.


I am generally interested in researching ‘thick’ accounts of mobility processes. The interdisciplinary nature of migration is particularly suited to such endeavours. Comparative migration research has the potential to offer particularly rich narratives by allowing us to distinguish generic from more particular features of the migration process per se. More specifically, I am interested in nationhood and citizenship regimes, policy development, integration, ethnicities, national identities, diasporas and belonging, especially but not exclusively in post-socialist contexts.


  • Hess, C. (2014) ‘What are reverse diasporas and how are we to understand them?’ Accepted for publication in Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies, 17 (3), forthcoming in autumn 2014. 

Journal Articles:

  • Heß, Christin (2011b) ‘What can co-ethnic immigrants tell us about ethnic visions of the national self? A comparative analysis of Germany and Greece’, Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, vol. 2 (1), pp. 95-131.
  • Heß, Christin (2011a) ‘Analogies and the myth of permanence in the ‘repatriation’ from the Former Soviet Union to Greece and Germany’. Available online via the Institute of Sociology of the University of Vienna: http://www.soz.univie.ac.at/fileadmin/user_upload/inst_soziologie/Forschung/Workshops/Researching_Migration_in_Europe/Hess_Repatriation_2010.pdf
  • Hess, Christin (2010) ‘Post-Soviet Repatriation and National Identity in Greece and Germany’, Political Perspectives, vol. 4 (2), pp. 25-48.
  • Hess, Christin (2008) ‘The Contested Terrain of the Parallel Society: The Other Natives in Contemporary Greece and Germany’, Europe Asia Studies, vol. 60 (9), pp. 1519 – 1537. 


  • Heß, Christin (2000) ‘AUS(lands)blick: Studienführer für Studierende and Studieninteressenten an der Fachhochschule Erfurt’, Fachhochschule Erfurt: Das Rekorat.
  • Heß, Christin (2001) ‘A(n inter)VIEW: A Guide for Prospective Students from Abroad and Foreign Students at the Fachhochschule Erfurt’, University of Applied Sciences Erfurt: The Rectorate. 

Conference Presentations / Guest Lectures:

  • ‘Comparing post-Soviet diasporas: what can we learn about return mobility?’ University of Stockholm, Sweden; Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Department of Social Anthropology. Conference funded by the Marie Curie Initial Training Network Diasporic Constructions of Home and Belonging (CoHaB): “A Diaspora and Transnationalism Event”, Stockholm, 23 October 2012.

  • ‘Post-Soviet diasporas after perestroika: Policies and integration trajectories in the field of housing’,  Guest lecture at Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini, Greece, Department of Social Administration and Social Work, 13 April 2011.
  • ‘Post-Soviet Repatriation and National Identity in Greece’, University of Bath, UK; Department of European Studies; Postgraduate Conference: ‘Negotiating Modernity’, 5-6 July 2010.
  • ‘Analogies and the myth of permanence in the ‘repatriation’ from the Former Soviet Union to Greece and Germany’, European Sociological Association, University of Vienna, Austria, Department of Sociology, 10-12 September 2010.
  • ‘Home at last? The (re-?)settlement and integration of co-ethnic return migrants from the former Soviet Union in Greece and Germany’, University of Southampton, UK, Department of Modern Languages; Conference Title: Coming home? Conflict and Return Migration in 20th century Europe, 3-5 September 2009.
  • ‘The Contested Terrain of the Parallel Society’, University of Bath, UK, Department of European Studies; Workshop funded by the Centre for East European Language Based Area Studies: ‘Temporary Migration and Community Cohesion: The nature and impact of migration from East-Central to Western Europe’, 7-8 January 2008. 

  • Europeanisation of German and British migration policies 1997-2010
  • Comparative analysis of British and German approaches to highly skilled migration, migration and growth and social cohesion
  • Migration policy and migrant integration in Germany (Special Issue)
  • Comparative analysis of return migration to Greece/ Migrants and identities during the Greek crisis 
  • Theoretical work on diaspora formation and re-formation
  • International Association for the Study of German Politics

  • European Sociological Association, Research Network ‘Sociology of Migration’
  • Higher Education Academy, UK

Research Funding: 

  • Full research scholarship by the Department of European Studies (University of Bath) for doctoral research (3 years), amended by various small fieldwork grants
  • Grant awarded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to carry out fieldwork in Germany
  • Grant awarded by the French School of Athens (École française d’Athènes) to carry out fieldwork in Greece
  • Tuition fee stipend by the Department of European Studies (University of Bath) for MA Contemporary European Politics, Policy and Society (1 year) 

Funding for Impact Activities: 

  • £34,375 from Foreign and Commonwealth Office for British-German expert round table on migration in March 2013 in London (with Simon Green)
  • £37,715.84 from Foreign and Commonwealth Office for follow-up British-German expert round table on migration in February 2014 in Berlin (with Simon Green)

  • 19/11/10. BBC Radio Four Women’s Hour, UK. Title: Discussion round with Prof. Jutta Allmendinger of the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung and host Jenni Murray on women’s lives in East and West Germany twenty years after re-unification
  • 07/09/08. Radio Frei Erfurt, Germany. Title: Russlanddeutsche in Deutschland und ‘Russlandgriechen’ in Griechenland: gemeinsame Probleme und Geschichten (Interview in Russian for a Russian language migrant radio channel)
Room: NW803a
Phone: 0121 204 5376
Email: C.Hess@aston.ac.uk 

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research