A new Book On Migration


(Sydney, Australia)

Original Text: A new Book On Migration


What are the causes and consequences of contemporary immigration? The title signals that this book’s purpose is not an easy task, if not an impossible one. The topic has multifaceted aspects to explore yet the authors seem to have accomplished stretching it well. Throughout the book, they identify three main topics of inquiry.

The first topic (‘movement’) explores the causes and the patterns of movements throughout the last centuries. Looking at the historical developments, they explore the development of migration theories as well. All migration theories are related to the context in which they were produced. So are explained the theories of segmented labor markets. Along with these theories looking for the causes of migration at local levels, the authors note the need to relate the future migration research to larger, macro-level processes. Ch 3 gives a good amount of statistical data that can be valuable for future quantitative research. Migration researchers are used to the general lack of data in their field due to the lack of a coherent data among states and due to the irregular migrants’ invisibility in official statistics. The authors in this context provide an important amount of information for the destination countries.

The second topic (‘settlement’) lays out three theoretical debates. For each, the authors attempt first to clarify the relevant term and later to see whether any of them can facilitate inclusion of all groups in a given society. Debates on assimilation centre around the Chicago School of Sociology and their critiques. The assumptions of the CSS have been highly ciriticised by later sociologists who simultaneously attempted to refine the concept of assimilation.

Still within the context of immigrants’ ‘settlement’, they also elaborate on the paradigm of transnationalism. For the last two decades, the literature on transnationalism has steadily grown, however to the aim of the book, the authors limit their discussions to implications for modes of immigrant incorporation. Among migration scholars, there have been two varying perspectives. While some argue that transnationalism has been an impediment to assimilation, others claim that they are inextricably intertwined. The authors explain these discussions through three main strands. They first deal with the usage of the term by N.G.S. who focused on social relations revealing the multiple and fluid identities of contemporary transmigrants. The second strand relies on the works of A.P. who argued that the migrants who have more access to technologies and such social capital are better equipped to act in ‘transnational social fields’. Finally as the last strand, they explain the works of T.F. and his extensive involvement with ‘transnational social spaces’.

As the last element of inquiry within ‘settlement’, they investigate multiculturalism both as a term itself and as a policy applied in certain countries. They give a philosophical account of the term and review multiculturalism practices in Canada and Australia. Their argument that assimilation and multiculturalism are potentially connected models rather than antithetical modes of incorporation to each other is persuasive.

The last topic (‘control’) is concerned with the control of national states, a topic that has begun to be explored by migration scholars only recently. Ch 7 and 8 ask ‘who should get in?’ and ‘who should be permitted to stay and on what terms?’. As such, Ch 7 examines the cases of the US and EU considering the historical development of their policies. Ch 8 turns into the issues related to citizenship. These are important to discuss as they are the essential legal mechanisms for immigrants to access the welfare services of their destination countries. They end their book leaving us to think whether immigration can ultimately lead to global citizenship.

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Revised Text:

What are the causes and consequences of contemporary immigration? The title signals that this book’s purpose is not an easy task, if not an impossible one. The topic has multifaceted aspects to explore, yet the authors seem to have accomplished stretching it well. In the book, they identify three main topics of inquiry.

The first topic, ‘movement’, explores the causes and patterns of movements throughout the last few centuries. Looking at the historical developments, they explore the development of migration theories as well. All migration theories are related to the context in which they were produced. Also, the theories of segmented labor markets are explained. Along with these theories, looking for the causes of migration at local levels, the authors note the need to relate future migration research to larger, macro-level processes. Ch. 3 gives a good amount of statistical data which can be valuable for future quantitative research. Migration researchers are used to the general lack of data in their field, due to the lack of coherent data among states and due to the irregular migrants’ invisibility in official statistics. The authors, in this context, provide an important amount of information for the destination countries.

The second topic, ‘settlement’, lays out three theoretical debates. For each, the authors attempt first to clarify the relevant terms and later to see whether any of them can facilitate the inclusion of all groups in a given society. Debates on assimilation centre around the Chicago School of Sociology and their critiques. The assumptions of the CSS have been highly ciriticised by later sociologists, who simultaneously attempted to refine the concept of assimilation.

Still within the context of immigrants’ ‘settlement’, they also elaborate on the paradigm of trans-nationalism. For the last two decades, the literature on trans-nationalism has steadily grown, however to the aim of the book, the authors limit their discussions to implications for modes of immigrant incorporation. Among migration scholars, there have been two varying perspectives. While some argue that trans-nationalism has been an impediment to assimilation, others claim that they are inextricably intertwined. The authors explain these discussions in three main strands. They first deal with the usage of the term by N.G.S. who focused on social relations, revealing the multiple and fluid identities of contemporary trans-migrants. The second strand relies on the works of A.P., who argued that the migrants who have more access to technologies and other social capital are better equipped to act in ‘transnational social fields’. Finally, in the last strand, they explain the works of T.F. and his extensive involvement with ‘transnational social spaces’.

As the last element of inquiry within ‘settlement’, they investigate multiculturalism, both as a term itself and as a policy applied in certain countries. They give a philosophical account of the term and review multiculturalism practices in Canada and Australia. Their argument, that assimilation and multiculturalism are potentially connected models rather than antithetical modes of incorporation to each other, is persuasive.

The last topic, ‘control’, is concerned with the control of national states, a topic that has begun to be explored by migration scholars only recently. Ch 7 and 8 ask ‘who should get in?’ and ‘who should be permitted to stay and on what terms?’. As such, Ch 7 examines the cases of the US and EU considering the historical development of their policies. Ch 8 turns to the issues related to citizenship. These are important to discuss as they are the essential legal mechanisms for immigrants to access the welfare services of their destination countries. The book ends, leaving us to wonder whether immigration can ultimately lead to global citizenship.

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