Cultures, transnationalism, and migration

Authored by: Michel Wieviorka

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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Analyzing migrants and migrations should not be confused with analyzing them only from the point of view of a host society. This point became clear in the 1990s, when research agendas incorporated new perspectives on transnationalism and diasporas, taking into account the subjectivity of migrants and the ways their own and host-society cultures are being transformed, by focusing on links that migrants sustain or construct toward their countries of origin and on what happens during their transits to final destinations, including significant dangers and sufferings they face. There is no one single model that describes migrations; rather we find different patterns of circulation. Migrants today, for example, are not mostly uneducated males. Such complexities require a renovated research agenda that takes into account the great diversity of migratory phenomena, refusing any kind of essentialization of culture, on the contrary, analyzing the processes through which cultural meanings mediate and transform relationships between migrants and other actors, and are themselves transformed in the bargain. The renovated agenda should include both the analysis of policies and the revision of the very concepts used to analyze migration, perhaps even substituting “mobility” for “migration.”

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