Temporary, seasonal, circular migration

A critical appraisal

Authored by: Ronald Skeldon

Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138794313
eBook ISBN: 9781315759302
Adobe ISBN: 9781317638773


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Temporary migrations have long been seen as part of human migration. Initially seen as ‘primitive’ (Petersen 1975), they were associated with the wanderings of peoples, hunter-gatherers and nomads, driven by a continuous search for food. These regular patterns of temporary movements were in contrast to the more permanent migrations of settled peoples as they left one world, whether rural or the Old World, for another, whether urban or the New World. The implication was that temporary movements were characteristic of an earlier pre-industrial period or societies at lower levels of economic development; migration in terms of a permanent move was more a characteristic of settled, industrial or economically developed societies. The case might be made that migration, in terms of a shift in usual place of residence, did not come into existence until the emergence of settled agriculture and the establishment of towns.

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