The political sociology of international migration

Borders, boundaries, rights, and politics

Authored by: Roger Waldinger , Thomas Soehl

Routledge International Handbook of Migration Studies

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415779722
eBook ISBN: 9780203863299
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183493


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International migration is an inherently political phenomenon. In leaving home, the migrants vote with their feet, against the home state and for the receiving state, preferring a state with the resources needed to provide public goods and make markets work over one that can't. In so doing, the migrants also do what neither state wants: their departures/entries illuminate problems of state capacity on both sides of the chain, highlighting the home state's inability to retain its people while underscoring the receiving state's inability to control its borders to the extent that the populace wants. Once across the border, migrants simultaneously become foreigners in the country where they live while becoming foreign to the country from which they came. Consequently, international migration always raises the question of the migrants' attachment to body politics newly encountered as well as left behind.

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