RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2019

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228 Prospects in Migration Theory: What is next?
Affiliation Population Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Ibrahim Sirkeci (Regent's University London, UK)
Jeffrey H. Cohen (Ohio State University, USA)
Chair(s) Ibrahim Sirkeci (Regent's University London, UK)
Jeffrey H. Cohen (Ohio State University, USA)
Timetable Thursday 29 August 2019, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room Skempton Building, Lecture Theatre 207
Session abstract Migration theory is dominated by models that are often contradictory and focused on a limited range of causal factors. This pattern leaves a significant gap in understanding human mobility and its repercussions. The current challenges and debates over human mobility warrants more sophistication than what commonly used push-pull framework. Building upon the seminal review by Massey and colleagues and our work on insecurity, our panel seeks to create space for a comprehensive dialogue between and among proponents of often contradictive theoretical models of and for migration. Specifically, we seek scholars to join us as we bring powerful, well-tested frameworks for modelling migration together with newer approaches that are focused on less well-represented themes that include the role of states and governing agencies; migrant aspirations and the critique of neo-liberalism. “Cultures of migration” drawing on the cumulative causation model ; gained some mileage however it is far from being a comprehensive model. Not so main stream interventions such as conflict model lack empirical backing yet although developing plausible arguments. From another angle, gender and migration nexus has not yet been integrated well into migration theory despite significant growth in the volume of research in this field. Moving beyond the dominance of perspectives from receiving countries, our panel also recognises the contributions of scholars from the global South and builds toward a more practical model of human mobility.
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2019@rgs.org
Aspirations, Adaptations and Wellbeing: Central Asian and Mexican Migrants in the US
Natalia Zotova (Ohio State University, USA)
Jeffrey H. Cohen (Ohio State University, USA)
A migrant’s travels are motivated by aspirations, desires, opportunities and insecurities. Working with Central Asian and Mexican migrants settled in the US, our paper defines the costs and benefits of migration and adaptation to a new environment. Not surprisingly, Central Asian and Mexican immigrants travel to the US for different reasons and face different challenges once settled. Nevertheless, for both groups of immigrants, aspirations – or their hopes for the future for themselves as well as their children – serve critical roles and are essential as migrants settle and seek opportunities while migrants-to-be to plan their travels and organize their resources. Reflecting on the theme of the conference, we find that for both groups, emerging "geographies of hope" drive mobility and are critical to success in newly founded destination communities. Our introduction briefly locates contemporary Central Asian and Mexican migration to the US. In the second part of our paper, we draw from ethnographic and biological data to identify how Central Asian and Mexican migrants use the stories they tell to adapt and manage wellbeing and the challenges of settlement. We note that both groups celebrate living in the US; nevertheless, Mexicans face elevated stress and increasingly negative health outcomes that are typically not present among Central Asians. In our conclusion, we argue that a focus on aspirations and the motivations driving migrants can be a useful framework for understanding the relationship between biology and culture, the socio-economics realities that challenge movers and the health implications of mobility as migrants plan for their futures.
Testing the Osmosis Theory by the Mediteranian Scenarios of Forced Migration
Samir Djelti (Mascara University, Algeria)
Hadjer Belghoul (Mostaganem University, Algeria)
This paper aims to explain forced migration within the general forecast of the osmosis theory of human migration. In addition, it shows the importance of projecting and planning for forced migration. Based on the osmosis theory, the force and the trajectory of forced migration are explained. This study concludes that, the force of forced migration is determined by the high migration pressure between the concerned, the neighbouring, and the developed countries. Furthermore, forced migration is oriented by the level of borders permeability in the region. Such understanding of forced migration means the possibility its projection and consequently the possibility of avoiding its negative effects on humanity in general and on societies in particular. Moreover, these negative effects could be transformed into safe, orderly and regular migration. The projection of forced migration is through regional scenarios of the osmosis model of migration. Different scenarios of the future of the Mediterranean migration will be drown. Such understanding and projecting forced migration strengthen and facilitate the achievement of the objectives of the refugees’ global compact.
Revisiting the desire for independence as a driver for return migration
Sinan Zeyneloglu (Nish Research, Iraq)
Ibrahim Sirkeci (Regent's University London, UK)
This article revisits August Lösch’s concept of ‘independence’ – and that of ‘safety’ as the counter-dynamic – as key drivers of migration, especially regarding flows from the core to the periphery. Work status and home ownership are used as proxy indicators to measure independence tested on migrants who have moved from Germany to Turkey; a typical example of core-to-periphery migration. Our results show that return migrants as well as retirement ones are more likely to be ‘independent’ after being controlled for demographics than both remaining migrants and non-migrants. Seasonal migrants (return migrants as well as international retirement migration) rank in between permanent migrants and non-migrants in terms of independence. On the other hand, working age migrants in both directions (contract migrants in the case from Germany to Turkey, marriage migrants in the opposite direction) have lower odds of having an independent status compared to non-migrants. We conclude that the concepts of independence and safety are useful for contemplating the motives of human mobility, which goes beyond income maximisation or betterment of living standards, as alluded to by contemporary mainstream thinking on migration studies.
A Bioethnographic Approach to Migration: Outcomes in Mexican Sending and Destination Communities
Jeffrey H. Cohen (Ohio State University, USA)
Douglas E. Crews (Ohio State University, USA)
Alexandra C Tuggle (Ohio State University, USA)
Migration for rural Oaxacans traveling from their home communities in southern Mexico to the border, the US and elsewhere is a disruptive and often dangerous process that includes family separations, discrimination and marginalization. The dangers associated with decision making around migration affect the health, wellbeing, aspirations and outcomes for both movers and non-movers and at points of origin and destination. While the complexity of migration challenges the health, wellbeing and more of the people involved, our understanding of the drivers associated with migration often are incomplete and based largely upon the narratives and demographic data we collect through ethnographic and survey based research. Our paper, summarizes our bioethnographic approach that seeks to untangle the complex web that surrounds migration and understand how culture and biology affect migration in ways that are only sometimes synchronized. A bioethnographic approach is founded in research with migrants and non-migrants (in this case movers and non-movers from Oaxaca, Mexico) at points of origin and destination. We combine their narratives, physiological data and self-reports of wellbeing to capture the complexity of mobility and explain the intricacies that confront Mexican migrants. We find that the narratives that our informants share, the biomarkers we collect and the self-reports of well-being are sometimes in parallel, but often they are not significantly associated and importantly, the narratives and self-reports shared by our informants can fail to capture the physiological stresses that individuals and their families face. We offer our bioethnographic approach as a way to understand and unpack the complex challenges that movers and non-movers face—and to better anticipate how to respond to migration’s outcomes in sending and destination communities and in the process rethink and reframe Mexican migration.