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Why Do People Migrate? Part 2: Theories

Chapters 6 › Unit 6: SCROLL DOWN FOR INSTRUCTIONS View instructions Hide instructions

SCROLL DOWN FOR INSTRUCTIONS

Read carefully this chapter. You will find a summary of the main migration theories and some criticism to the current state of the art.

Do you agree with the author that we should have one unifying theory of migration? What would be the pros and cons of going that way?

Write your opinion in your journal! and don't forget that you can also look what others' have written in their journal and give your comments.

There already is a unifying theory - Political Economy

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Do you agree with the author that we should have one unifying theory of migration? What would be the pros and cons of going that way?

I am not sure if the author is really arguing to have one unifying theory of migration, since neoclassical theories and historical materialism build on completely different ontologies and epistemologies. Combining the outlined approaches into one single theoretical approach is therefore doomed to fail, which I´m sure the author is aware of. Each theory is build on different assumptions and premises and serves as a lens which uncovers some aspects, while not being able to see others. Discussions about structure and agency are a contested terrain in social sciences and are not likely to be solved in the field of migration studies.

However, I agree to the following two statements:
1) "both studies of broad scope (macro, historical studies) and close, intimate studies of daily life are required"
2) "Migrants make choices but not in circumstances of their own choosing"

This automatically leads to a Marxian Political Economy approach, in which broader contradictions are manifested in everyday life and the understanding that "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past" - https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm

Recommended resources:
* http://developmentbookshop.com/agrarian-change-migration-and-development
* http://staging.ilo.org/public/libdoc/ilo/1994/94B09_267_engl.pdf

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