Rethinking Migration Theory
Theories of migration tend to lack coherence and are weakly connected to general social theory.
Migration theory is divided between academic disciplines, such as economics, anthropology, sociology, geography, and law. The theories also differ in their approach to migration – some examine the initiation of migration, while others focus on how migration processes develop their own momentum.
Migration research has its roots in social scientific approaches developed in the epoch of nationalism, with the establishment of nation-states. However, the dynamics of migration-related social and economic relations have always transcended borders and so must the theories and methods used to study them.
We are attempting to analyse the evolution of migration processes across space and time, integrating sending, transit and receiving contexts. This allows us to achieve a deeper understanding of past and present migration dynamics and their interaction with broader global transformation processes. In doing so, we are also questioning traditional divisions between research into voluntary/forced, regular/irregular, internal/international migration, and sending and receiving contexts.
African Migrations Workshops
This workshop series aims to strengthen migration research within Africa by bringing together scholars from across the continent and discussing topics that are relevant to migration research in Africa. In November 2010 the workshop in Senegal was on: .
The Determinants of International Migration (DEMIG) (2010–2014)
This project addresses the question: how do the migration policies of receiving and sending countries affect the size, direction and nature of international migration when controlling for the effects of other migration determinants in receiving and sending countries? Read more about the DEMIG project...
Global Migration Futures (2009–)
This project aims to assess future global migration trends and their effects on European receiving countries and sending countries mainly located in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. This is done through elaborating scenarios, as an innovative research methodology, taking account of likely future social, economic, political, demographic and environmental change in various world regions. Read more about the Global Migration Futures project...
Imagining Europe from the Outside EUMAGINE (2010-2012)
This is a collaborative European research project in which IMI is a partner. The project aims to investigate how perceptions of human rights and democracy impact migrants’ aspirations and decisions in Senegal, Morocco, Turkey and Ukraine.
IMI Social Theory and Migration Workshop Series
This series was born out of our dissatisfaction with separation between migration studies, as an avenue for intellectual exploration, and broader currents of social theory.
- Workshop 2: What post-positivism, critical realism and structuration can offer to migration studies (12-13 April 2012, University of Pisa)
- Workshop 1: Dialogues on critical realism and migration research (28 April 2011, University of Oxford)
Theorizing the Evolution of European Migration Systems (THEMIS) (2010–2013)
This project looks at the way in which patterns of migration develop. It focuses on the conditions and processes that encourage initial moves to become established migration systems and lead to their breakdown. THEMIS theoretical contribution is to bridge the theories on initiation and continuation of migration, and to integrate the concept of `agency’ in the systems theory approach to migration. Read more about the THEMIS project...