Comparative Migration Studies (CMS) is an international, peer-reviewed open access journal that provides a platform for articles that focus on comparative research in migration, integration, and race and ethnic relations ...Topics include, but are not limited to: migration and integration in relation to citizenship, national identity, refugee and asylum policy, social movements (pro and anti-immigration), gender, racialization, whiteness, ethnic and religious diversity and (post)colonialism.

News Library has vol. 3(2015) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • “My guitar is my rifle”: Mexican migrants mobilising unconventionally through arts

    Larisa Lara-Guerrero; Sebastien Rojon (SpringerOpen, 2022-11-01)
    Abstract Diasporas can create, transform, and exploit transnational networks to engage in political movements in their homeland and in their hostland, engaging in both electoral and non-electoral politics through political parties, political campaigns, and hometown organisations. However, the individual processes of subjectivation and its relationship with arts as a form of political engagement have been under-explored especially in contexts of violence and insecurity. This ethnographic paper sheds light on the micro-level of diaspora mobilisation by introducing the concept of “subjectivity” as a key term to analyse the transnational and unconventional political practices organised by migrants. As a result, this research aims to answer the following questions: (1) How are Mexican migrants becoming diasporic political subjects and creating spaces of transnational political activism in reaction to the context of violence in their homeland? (2) What makes them resort to art as a repertoire of contention against violence in their home towns? The paper introduces empirical examples collected in Brussels during 19 months of fieldwork with members of the Mexican diaspora, including semi-structured interviews with key informants and participant observation at political demonstrations, music rehearsals, charity concerts, gastronomic and artistic festivals, and political debates.
  • COVID-19 pandemic and the changing views of mobility: the case of Nepal–Malaysia migration corridor

    Andika Wahab; Mashitah Hamidi (SpringerOpen, 2022-11-01)
    Abstract For decades, Malaysia has been heavily dependent on unskilled and temporarily contracted migrant workers to fulfil labour gaps in the country. While Malaysia’s economy continues to rely on migrant workers, the COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated their precarious working and living conditions. In-depth interviews with Nepali migrant workers and community leaders in Malaysia and Nepal in 2021 revealed the incidence of labour rights violations, compounded by the lack of access to justice and effective remedies. Besides, workers are allegedly no longer benefiting from the competitive wages, subsequently limiting the value of their remittance to Nepal. We argue that these incidents serve as the drivers of the changing views of mobility, eventually influencing the emigration environment in which the social construction of migration exists in Nepal. This study examines the migratory realities in the Nepal–Malaysia migration corridor during the pandemic, subsequently contributing to current debate on the aspiration–ability model as a class of research.
  • Bringing anchoring and embedding together: theorising migrants’ lives over-time

    Aleksandra Grzymala-Kazlowska; Louise Ryan (SpringerOpen, 2022-11-01)
    Abstract In this paper, we bring together two concepts that we have been developing separately over recent years, to challenge linear and simplistic notions of migrant integration, depict multi-dimensional processes of settling and changeability over time. The concept of embedding has been proposed to capture dynamism beyond the more static notion of Granovetter’s embeddedness. The concept explores the contexts and contingencies of where and how migrants establish different degrees of attachment in different places and through different social relationships. Also the concept of anchoring has been developed to offer an antireductionist processual and multi-dimensional understanding of migrant adaptation and settling, highlighting the issues of security and stability. In this paper, using longitudinal research, we explore for the first time how bringing our two concepts together may offer additional insights and understandings of migrants’ experiences of and responses to the uncertainties and complexities of contemporary society, exacerbated by Brexit.
  • Reciprocal migration: the coloniality of recent two-way migration links between Angola and Portugal

    Asaf Augusto; Elisa Alves; Russell King; Jorge Malheiros (SpringerOpen, 2022-10-01)
    Abstract Reciprocal migration—which we define as the mutual exchange of origin and destination by two different migrating groups—is hardly acknowledged in the migration literature. In terms of the temporalities of migration, which are usually seen as sequences or transitions, reciprocal migrations are simultaneous. We analyse the reciprocal migrations between Angola and Portugal over the time-frame of the past 10–15 years. In-depth interviews were carried out with Portuguese migrants in Angola, most of whom moved there in the wake of the post-2008 financial crisis, and with Angolan third-level students and recent graduates in Portugal. A key operational concept in our analysis is the plastic notion of skill and its differential racialisation. Portuguese migrants in Angola are automatically regarded as ‘skilled’ even when they are not, whereas Angolan students and graduates in Portugal, when they seek work, are often viewed as ‘unskilled African migrant workers’. We thus distinguish and deconstruct the geographical binary between transnational origin and destination spaces and the social binary between ‘skilled white bodies’ and ‘unskilled black bodies’. These racialised embodied tropes draw on histories of Portuguese colonisation and the contested notion of ‘Lusotropicalism’, as well as the so-called Lusophone migration system involving complex transnational relations and two-way migration flows. Theoretically we frame this asymmetrical system of reciprocal migration within a modified version of core–periphery relations, as well as the coloniality of power and its enduring influence over the racialisation of skill, education, culture and language across the Portuguese–Angolan transnational space.
  • The majority oppressed? On asymmetrical multiculturalism and majority rights

    Tamar de Waal; Jan Willem Duyvendak (SpringerOpen, 2022-10-01)
    Abstract There has been an increase of academic publications that argue in favor of ‘majority rights,’ ‘majority precedence,’ or ‘white identity,’ claiming that the (cultural) interests of majorities in liberal-democratic countries have been ignored due to ‘asymmetrical multiculturalism.’ This article critically examines this academic trend. In particular, we question the claim that liberal-democratic and multicultural theories to date have ignored the importance of the majority (culture). We observe that liberal-democratic and multicultural theory in fact strongly promote and privilege the majority culture, although in ways that do not violate core individual rights and accommodate minorities. In addition, we explore several more empirical issues regarding the claim that the interests of majorities are under threat in liberal-democratic countries today. Among other things, we observe that pro-majority theories tend to work with specific understandings of who embodies the majority. These theories rest on the idea that immigrants and their descendants (may) ‘dilute’ majorities, as they are (culturally) ‘not native.’ As a result, majority rights theorists ‘freeze’ the majority culture claimed to be worth protecting in ways that it, first, neglects ongoing processes of integration and, second, disregards possibilities for social and political change and emancipation, particularly if triggered by immigrant groups. Finally, we wonder why majority rights theories currently seem to resonate. We discuss the possibility that certain pro-diversity voices, such as those who claim that Europe has become superdiverse or who defend multiculturalism, might have (unintentionally) enabled alarmist defenses of majority rights.
  • Between cosmopolitanism and parochialism: return migration of early-career Israeli academics

    Emil Israel; Nir Cohen (SpringerOpen, 2022-10-01)
    Abstract Mobile academics have traditionally been conceived as cosmopolitan subjects who favor cultural diversity and search for new professional opportunities abroad. Their return to the homeland could therefore be interpreted as a sign of parochialism, which narrows down their professional opportunities and limits their exposure to global resources. In this article, we compare returning and non-returning academics with respect to their parochial and/or cosmopolitan tendencies. Drawing on a sample of 223 Israeli Early-Career Researchers (ECRs), we examine their cosmopolitan—or otherwise parochial—propensities and assess the effect they have on their return decisions. We use statistical tests to analyze the effects of cultural orientation, attachment to the homeland-based national community, and patriotic feelings on their propensity to return. Our findings suggest that in comparison with their co-nationals who opted to remain abroad, returning ECRs exhibit higher levels of parochialism, reflected through inter alia stronger communal dispositions and patriotic attachment as well as geographically limited job search.
  • Should they stay or should they go? A case study on international students in Germany

    Sascha Krannich; Uwe Hunger (SpringerOpen, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract International students are conceived as essential contributors to the development of their countries of origin after they finished their studies abroad. Political decision-makers of the countries of origin therefore take measures that students will eventually return to their home countries and bring back their gained knowledge and consequently contribute to development back home. However, is a return always the best way to contribute to development in the country of origin or can international graduates contribute equally from abroad or through their high mobility between different countries? This article aims to address this question on the basis of an intensive three years mixed-methods-based investigation in six countries – Germany as country of study and Colombia, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia and Israel/Palestinian territories as countries of origin. We investigated a specific German scholarship program, which gives scholarships to international students from the Global South to study in Germany. Although a return to the country of origin is a precondition for the scholarship, our study indicates that not only return migration, but also remains and circular migration can create beneficial circumstances that former students practice diverse development-related functions and therefore contribute to the development in their country of origin in a specific way. Here, it is important to recognize that scholarship programs do not only offer the opportunity to fund studying abroad, but they can be also designed for the needs of scholars during, before and after their studies, which would also benefit their developmental contributions.
  • Gender-based violence (GBV) against women with precarious legal status and their access to social protection in advanced welfare societies: an analytical contribution to reconstruct the research field and its institutional development

    Claudia Di Matteo; Roberto Scaramuzzino (SpringerOpen, 2022-10-01)
    Abstract The aim of this paper is to map the emergence and development of a research field around the topic of “gender-based violence (GBV) against women with precarious legal status and their access to social protection in advanced welfare societies”. We explore the academic knowledge production around this topic as a specific research field by using bibliometric data. We investigate the place occupied by scholars who publish in well-established journals, and their disciplines, in order to understand the relevance of different disciplines and groups of researchers in the knowledge production within the field. Our methodology includes analysis of co-authorship, cross-country collaboration, and co-citation. The search strategy is informed by discursive practices and knowledge production by influential international civil society actors (CSAs) involved in framing welfare responses to GBV against women with precarious legal status. Our results suggest that the knowledge produced in the field increased in terms of number of publications between 2010 and 2021, indicating a process of institutionalisation. Disciplines oriented towards certain groups of professionals such as clinical psychology, medicine, health, nursing, and social work, affiliated mainly to institutions in the US, Canada, and the EU, have a prominent role in knowledge production in this field. In our conclusions, we discuss the implications of these results in relation to gender studies and migration studies, along with some limitations of the use of bibliometrics software combined with an intersectionality approach.
  • Contested skills and constrained mobilities: migrant carework skill regimes in Taiwan and Japan

    Pei-Chia Lan (SpringerOpen, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract This article compares the paradoxical conditions of migrant care workers in two major receiving countries in Asia: Taiwan’s policy regime has positioned live-in care workers as “unskilled” foreigners, who nevertheless have gained increasing desirability and mobility in the labor market. By contrast, Japan has maintained the regime of skilled migration but the recent expansion of the trainee program reinforces paternalistic control over migrant caregivers, who are considered culturally inadequate. Contesting the assumption that skills indicate desirability and mobility in the labor market, I argue that we must examine the context-dependent constitution of skills at the intersection of migration, care, and skill regimes. I propose a multifaced framework to examine how the state and intermediary agencies co-produce the skill regime of care migration, including the following dimensions: migrant skills as a political language and structure of governance, care work skills as social and cultural constructions, the infrastructure of recruitment and training, and the consequence of labor market mobility.
  • A review of experimental evidence of how communication affects attitudes to immigration

    James Dennison (SpringerOpen, 2022-08-01)
    Abstract The need for strategic communication in migration policymaking is increasingly widely recognised. Whereas until recently there was relatively little academic evidence of what forms of immigration communication are effective, the past few years have seen a large amount of new experimental evidence. This article overviews 68 experimental studies, as well as other relevant studies, categorising their findings into nine common communication strategies. Appealing to common interest rather than self-interest, appealing to conformity rather than diversity, migrant descriptions, appealing to common ground, and appealing to empathy are consistently shown to be effective. Fact-checking of the effects of migration and appealing to emotions are mostly shown to be effective, as is appealing to identity where applicable. By contrast, appealing to diversity is consistently shown to be ineffective, while correcting information about migrant stocks and appeals to self-interest are mostly shown to be ineffective. Overall, this review article supports psychological findings regarding attitudinal formation that emphasise sociotropic considerations of the effects of immigration, economic or otherwise, on the collective while offering weaker support for egocentric approaches.
  • Refugee’s agency and coping strategies in refugee camps during the coronavirus pandemic: ethnographic perspectives

    Claudia Böhme; Anett Schmitz (SpringerOpen, 2022-08-01)
    Abstract The global spread of the coronavirus pandemic has particularly dramatic consequences for the lives of migrants and refugees living in already marginalised and restricted conditions, whose ongoing crisis is at risk of being overlooked. But refugees are not only extremely vulnerable and at risk of infection, as several reports show, quickly develop their own protection measures like the production of hygienic products, the publication of their situation and calls for action and help. Therefore, this paper aims to research the effects of the coronavirus crisis on refugees in camp settings with a special ethnographic focus on how refugees actively deal with this crisis and if they, through already developed resilience, are capable of adapting to the restrictions as well as inventing strategies to cope with the difficult situation. To account for the variety of refugee camps as well as the different living conditions due to their locality, history and national asylum politics, we will look at three different locations, namely refugee asylum homes in Germany, hotspots on the Greek islands as well as one refugee camp in Kenya. The main questions will be how, under structurally and institutionally framed conditions of power and victimisation in refugee camps, forms of agency are established, made possible or limited. The goal is to show which strategies refugees apply to cope with the enhanced restrictions and exclusion, how they act to protect themselves and others from the virus and how they present and reflect their situation during the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, this discussion offers a new perspective to consider refugees not only as vulnerable victims, but also as actively engaged individuals.
  • The role of environmental factors and other migration drivers from the perspective of Moroccan and Congolese migrants in Belgium

    Loubna Ou-Salah; Lore Van Praag; Gert Verschraegen (SpringerOpen, 2022-09-01)
    Abstract This manuscript describes findings from 53 interviews conducted with Moroccan and migrants from The Democratic Republique of the Congo living in Belgium, with an emphasis on discussing the extent to which environmental factors in the migrants’ home countries may or may not have influenced their migration decisions. A comparative approach clarifies and disentangles the relationship between natural environmental factors and other drivers of migration in two distinct contexts. Applying a comparative approach and having extensive biographical accounts of each interviewee’s migration trajectory and history enables us to understand how individual migration aspirations develop gradually and how the importance of environmental factors changes during different stages. Conceiving of migration as a multi-stage process, this study demonstrates how environmental factors are closely linked to other factors and play different roles during a migration trajectory.
  • Comparative perspectives on migration, diversities and the pandemic

    Magdalena Arias Cubas; Anju Mary Paul; Jacques Ramírez; Sanam Roohi; Peter Scholten (SpringerOpen, 2022-09-01)
  • Disentangling entangled mobilities: reflections on forms of knowledge production within migration studies

    Anna Wyss; Janine Dahinden (SpringerOpen, 2022-08-01)
    Abstract European migration studies have been criticised for having certain epistemological and theoretical underpinnings that reproduce hegemonic structures, especially the ‘national order of things’ and colonial legacies. In this article, we propose the concept of ‘entangled mobilities’ to address some of these challenges. Entangled mobilities as a theoretical lens enables us to study specific global and transnational processes, the ways in which they are historically and locally situated, and how they materialise in individual mobilities of differently positioned actors within an unequal political global economy. This lens helps us simultaneously overcome nationality- and ethnicity-centred epistemologies, confront colonial aphasia, and be sensitive to the multiple inequalities and mobility regimes within which human mobilities evolve. Furthermore, the prism of entangled mobilities provides an ideal methodological departure point from which to systematically examine how human mobilities are intertwined and interdependent and to reveal how they are embedded in and shaped by asymmetric, historically evolved power structures. We propose three pragmatic entry points for mobilising the concept: in specific places, in terms of the intersections and interdependencies of different mobile people, and in the context of the biographical trajectories of individuals. Finally, we invite scholars from other fields, such as policy research, to innovatively adapt this approach to gain alternative knowledge and address inequalities.
  • An eye for an ‘I:’ a critical assessment of artificial intelligence tools in migration and asylum management

    Lucia Nalbandian (SpringerOpen, 2022-08-01)
    Abstract The promise of artificial intelligence has been originally to put technology at the service of people utilizing powerful information processors and ‘smart’ algorithms to quickly perform time-consuming data analysis. It soon though became apparent that the capacity of artificial intelligence to scrape and analyze big data would be particularly useful in surveillance policies. In the wider areas of migration and asylum management, increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence tools have been used to register and manage vulnerable populations without much concern about the potential misuses of the data collected and the overall ethical and legal underpinnings of these operations. This article examines three cases in point. The first case investigates the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ decision to deploy a biometric matching engine engaging artificial intelligence to make accessing identification documents easier for both refugees and asylum seekers and the states and organizations they interact with. The second case focuses on the New Zealand government’s introduction of artificial intelligence to improve border security and streamline immigration. The third case looks at data scraping and biometric recognition tools implemented by the United States government to track (and eventually deport) undocumented migrants. The article first shows how states and international organizations are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence tools to support the implementation of their immigration policies and programs. Subsequently, the article also outlines how even despite well-intentioned efforts, the decision to use artificial intelligence tools to increase efficiency and support the implementation of migration or asylum management policies and programs often involves jeopardizing or altogether sacrificing individuals’ human rights, including privacy and security, and raises concerns about vulnerability and transparency.
  • Mainstreaming or retrenchment? Migration-related diversity in Dutch and Flemish education policies

    Laura Westerveen; Ilona van Breugel; Ilke Adam; Peter Scholten (SpringerOpen, 2022-07-01)
    Abstract This article analyses how states adapt generic policies to the increasing diversity that characterises contemporary European societies. More particularly, it zooms in on how migration-related diversity is mainstreamed into education policies in the Netherlands and Flanders and why we observe different policy trends in these two cases. We find that the focus on migration-related diversity largely faded in Dutch education policies in the period from 2000 to 2014. In Flanders, this trend towards ‘migration-related diversity retrenchment’ is less prevalent during this period, even though a similar evolution has started to take place more recently. These findings present a puzzle, as the most evident explanation for diversity retrenchment, namely the increasing politicisation of migration and diversity, cannot account for this difference since the Netherlands and Flanders are characterised by similar degrees of politicisation of migration-related diversity. Our findings thus call for an exploration of underemphasised explanations for diversity retrenchment. We show that the diverging degree of diversity retrenchment can be explained by the presence or absence of a sub-state nationalist project and diverging degrees of neoliberal retrenchment policies. Sub-state nationalism seems to have temporarily offered a buffer against the neoliberal retrenchment of migration-related diversity.
  • Russian speakers’ media engagement and acculturation in Finland and Latvia

    Ilkhom Khalimzoda; Marko Siitonen (SpringerOpen, 2022-07-01)
    Abstract This comparative study looks into Russian speakers’ acculturation in Finland and Latvia by contrasting their cultural involvement and cultural preference Carlson and Güler (J Int Migr Integr 19:625–647, 2018. 10.1007/s12134-018-0554-4) with their self-reported news media use. Drawing on survey data collected from both countries (N = 224), the findings show that participants in both countries scored closer to biculturalism than monoculturalism. Majority of the respondents report predominantly engaging with non-Russian news media sources. However, regardless of the societal context, respondents who were more engaged with Russian news media sources also scored higher on cultural preference (towards Russian culture of origin). Further significant differences and implications are discussed.
  • Translocal vulnerability of temporary rural–rural labor migrant-sending households in Quarit district, Northwestern Ethiopia

    Linger Ayele; Terefe Degefa (SpringerOpen, 2022-07-01)
    Abstract The current era of globalization is accompanied by vulnerabilities of migrants at their destination. Although such cases possibly shape the vulnerabilities of migrant-sending households through the network of migration, most studies give little attention to these spatial vulnerabilities. Informed by the translocal approach, this article attempts to bridge this gap based on a mix of quantitative and qualitative data generated from households that send temporary labor migrants to export-oriented cash crop growing areas in Ethiopia. Quantitative data were collected from randomly selected 250 migrant-sending households and analyzed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data meant to support quantitative data were gathered before and after collecting quantitative data through focus group discussions, key informant interviews and a review of secondary sources. The findings demonstrate that temporary rural–rural labor migrants are vulnerable to multiple shocks at their destination. These vulnerabilities of migrants are transferred to migrant-sending households through migration networks and result in various degrees of negative livelihood outcomes such as asset decumulation and food insecurity depending on the type of migrant-households. It is learned, in this case, that a localized approach to vulnerability analysis appears inadequate in revealing the whole spectrum of vulnerability. The implication is that efforts meant to address migration-related vulnerability require coordinated responses involving actors situated both at the origin and destination of migrants. Interventions to address migration-related vulnerability also require mainstreaming migration into national development policies and strategies designed based on a translocal approach.
  • Transnational voting rights and policies in violent democracies: a global comparison

    Benjamin Nyblade; Elizabeth Iams Wellman; Nathan Allen (SpringerOpen, 2022-07-01)
    Abstract In recent decades more than one hundred countries have enfranchised their diasporas, allowing emigrants to vote from abroad. However, this widespread formal recognition of extraterritorial voting rights does not always lead to increased participation of emigrants in home country politics. Migrant-sending countries have complex relationships with their diasporas, and this relationship is particularly fraught for countries with endemic violence. This article leverages a new dataset documenting the adoption and implementation of extraterritorial voting rights and restrictions for 195 countries from 1950 to 2020 to demonstrate how transnational voting rights and policies in violent democracies differ from other regimes. While violent democracies extend transnational voting rights to their emigrants at rates comparable to other regime types, they are less likely to implement those rights, and when they do implement them, they are more likely to restrict them to insulate domestic politics from external influence.

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