The differential role of social networks: Strategies and routes in Brazilian migration to Portugal and the Netherlands
Masja van Meeteren , Sonia Pereira
This paper draws on qualitative and quantitative data on the migration experiences of Brazilians living in Portugal and the Netherlands to reflect and expand upon the existing knowledge on the role of social networks in migration processes. We consider different migrant profiles based on principal migration motives to identify differentiated socio-demographic profiles and relate these to migration strategies. We show that differences in the ways migrants access and use social networks in their migration projects can be related to these different migration motives and profiles. Simultaneously, we compare two distinct immigration contexts both in terms of contemporary immigration regimes and working opportunities and historical links to Brazil. Our findings demonstrate that migration scholars need to move beyond the narrow conceptualisation of social networks based on community or kin relationships, to consider multiple configurations involving different agents – both in the origin and destination countries – at different stages of the migration process. In addition, we show that future analyses would benefit from taking into account the differences between migrants driven by distinct motivations in different places.