What drives international migration? Theories suggest that once a critical threshold level of migrants have settled, migration tends to stimulate the creation of social and economic structures that make the process of migration self-perpetuating. THEMIS researchers argue that the role of 'pioneer migrants' is much more ambiguous and complex, and the relevant question should not be whether they act as ‘bridgeheads’ or ‘gatekeepers’, but ‘how much’, ‘to what extent’ or 'under what conditions'.
Working paper 48 focuses on the genesis of migration systems and the notion of pioneer migration. It draws attention both to the role of particular individuals, the pioneers, and also the more general activity of pioneering which is undertaken by many migrants. By disentangling different aspects of agency, it is possible to develop hypotheses about how the emergence of migrations systems is related to the nature of the agency exercised by different pioneers or pioneering activities in different contexts.