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.


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

Recent Submissions

  • Latin American immigration and refugee policies: a critical literature review

    Nieves Fernández-Rodríguez; Luisa Feline Freier (SpringerOpen, 2024-03-01)
    Abstract Against the background of remarkable policy liberalization and the subsequent steep increase of forced displacement in Latin America, the literature on immigration and refugee policy in the region has gained momentum. Although largely overlooked, this literature has the potential to provide a corrective to political migration theory from the Global South. In this article we carry out a systematic, critical review of the regional literature along three thematic axes: legal analyses, normative and explanatory studies. Based on the review of 108 journal articles, we describe the characteristics, main contributions and research gaps of each thematic area. By analyzing legal norms and policy implementation gaps, existing studies on Latin America provide an understanding of migration policy over time and offer important empirical evidence for the advancement of political migration theory, challenging some of the main assumptions attributed to policies in the Global South. However, the lack of engagement with the broader literature and the absence of systematic analyses of its determinants and effects significantly limit the potential of this body of work. We close by making concrete suggestions of how future studies could fill existing gaps both in theoretical and empirical terms, and which methodological approach should be employed.
  • Caring and building friendships in the UK’s asylum system

    Maria Wardale; Sarah Scuzzarello (SpringerOpen, 2024-03-01)
    Abstract To care and feel cared for are considered fundamental to what makes us human, and what enables us to live and thrive in this world. Yet for the UK’s asylum-seeking population who is living with uncertainties for the future, care appears absent. In such contexts, it is imperative to understand how care is enacted, experienced, and valued amongst spaces and people often considered to be care-less. Drawing on data collected in four collaborative photographic workshops and photo elicitation interviews with asylum seekers and refugees (ASRs) (N: 7), this study aims to gain insight into how ASRs in the UK care and feel cared for and their relative ability to forge friendships during their migration journey. We show how their relationship to caregiving and care-receiving changes over time and is deeply influenced by asylum policies and the refugee experience more generally. Responding to feminist scholars’ calls to disrupt the normative assumptions about how and between whom care is exchanged, this article highlights the diversity of friendships forged while on the move and seeking asylum as well as the caring practices emerging in situations of precarity, the pervasive impacts of the hostile environment on disrupting and distorting such caring relationships, and cautious but agentic and caring ways that ASRs seek to navigate the ambiguities of friendships in hostility. In doing so, the article provides an important counter-narrative to the dominant portrayal of ASRs as passive recipients of care, by highlighting how their way to approach care and friendship varies across time and circumstances.
  • Why failed asylum seekers should have a conditional right to stay: an ethical guideline for policy debates

    Leila Hadj Abdou; Eszter Kollar (SpringerOpen, 2024-03-01)
    Abstract This article aims to reconcile the moral rights of failed asylum seekers with the integrity of the asylum system. Can the state grant failed asylum seekers a right to stay without undermining the core purpose of the refugee system? Can the state sometimes return those whose asylum claim has failed without violating their moral rights? The article argues that restricting the rights of asylum seekers and reducing the length of the asylum process raise ethical concerns and practical problems. It emphasizes that liberal states should charitably interpret the norms of international protection. It proposes to extend the right to stay on social membership grounds qualified by a good faith condition, and limit returns to those that have lodged their claim in bad faith. Engaging with the good/bad faith distinction the article aims to counteract a culture of suspicion towards asylum seekers by clarifying what it really means to launch a claim in bad faith and to realign its scope in a morally appropriate way.
  • Residency and citizenship in the Gulf: recent policy changes and future implications for the region

    Abdulaziz Ali; Logan Cochrane (SpringerOpen, 2024-03-01)
    Abstract Citizenship and residency laws in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries developed during a similar time period, with similar influences, and as a result had common characteristics. In recent years, this has begun to change, with new pathways to permanent residency and citizenship developing in the region. This paper takes a comparative case study approach to analyzing the policy changes in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, and then explores the implications thereof. Broadening the pathways for permanent residency and citizenship offers opportunities (e.g., reversing financial outflows, increasing domestic investment and savings, attracting foreign direct investment and skilled talent) while it also presents risks (e.g., contesting traditional forms of belonging and entitlement, reducing social cohesion, and creating new forms of inequalities). While new pathways have indeed emerged, these pathways are designed for specific types of people, defined by the criteria or requirements of them. The unique policies of the three countries imply unique directions for the economies, demographic transitions, and socio-political cultures of the region.
  • Innocence and danger at the border: migrants, “Bad” mothers, and the nation’s protectors

    John R. Parsons; Sara Riva (SpringerOpen, 2024-02-01)
    Abstract Media and political discourse in the USA often depict migration as an invasion and people who cross borders as criminals dangerous to the nation. Through ethnographic fieldwork conducted in two places on the USA-Mexico Southern border, we want to analyze how invasion narratives influence practices on-the-ground. We first explore how these narratives inform the views of a border militia who see themselves as protectors of the nation and understand people who cross borders as threats. We then argue that migrant women’s presence in areas where the militia operates disrupts the dominant narrative that defines migrants as dangerous, as militia members come to understand migrant women as victims of the Cartel. Despite their innocence, to maintain the narrative’s consistency, militia members still consider migrant women criminals for crossing the border “illegally.” Finally, we move on to explore the materiality of these xenophobic discourses by examining how migrant women are mistreated at a family immigration detention center. Using the militias as an example, we highlight why political narratives circulate and have meaning for individuals and how discourses have material consequences.
  • Immigrant political participation is associated with more positive majority immigration attitudes across European countries and Swiss cantons

    Judit Kende; Julia Reiter; Canan Coşkan; Bertjan Doosje; Eva G. T. Green (SpringerOpen, 2024-01-01)
    Abstract Immigrants are increasingly participating in politics, publicizing their political concerns and contributions. How does such political participation relate to national majorities’ immigration attitudes? Previous research suggested potential improvement of majority attitudes but also demonstrated the exacerbation of perceived threat. We investigated whether greater immigrant political participation is related to more positive or negative immigration attitudes among majority members. We implemented a cross-national and a cross-cantonal multilevel study drawing on the European Social Survey, the Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey and the Swiss Migration-Mobility Survey with 43,632 participants in 26 European countries in Study 1 and with 1058 participants in 19 Swiss cantons in Study 2. Overall, higher levels of immigrant political participation were related to more positive attitudes. This association between participation and attitudes was stronger among left-wing than among right-wing nationals. Finally, we found no evidence that larger immigrant groups’ participation evoke threat and exacerbate attitudes. We conclude that immigrant political participation is associated with more positive majority attitudes.
  • Differences in migrants’ reason for migration and subjective well-being: not so different after all

    Daisy Pollenne; Carlos Vargas-Silva (SpringerOpen, 2024-02-01)
    Abstract This article uses 2012–2021 UK survey data to explore differences in subjective well-being (i.e. happiness, anxiety, life satisfaction, and having a worthwhile life) between those born in the UK and foreign-born residents who migrated for different reasons to the country (i.e. employment, study, family reunion, and asylum). Previous literature looking at objective indicators such as employment rates and health suggests that migrants’ reasons for migration relate to major differences across groups in these types of well-being indicators. In contrast, our analysis suggests that differences in subjective well-being with the UK-born are relatively similar across those who migrated for different reasons to the country. Moreover, across reasons for migration, there is a clear pattern of convergence to the subjective well-being levels of the UK-born as length of residence in the UK increases. This differs from studies looking at objective well-being indicators, in which some groups (e.g. those who migrated for family or asylum reasons) take longer to converge to the levels of those born in the country.
  • Fighting to belong: drivers for transnational diaspora military service in Israel and beyond

    Lior Yohanani (SpringerOpen, 2024-02-01)
    Abstract Previous studies have explored two scenarios wherein diaspora members fight for their ancestral homeland: (1) in response to immediate threats, and (2) when the homeland’s conscription laws mandate enlistment. This study investigates diaspora military service (DMS) in Israel, where DMS occurs voluntarily outside of acute crises or compulsory conscription requirements. Utilizing survey and interview data from over 1100 diaspora soldiers, it compares enlistment motivations across three diaspora groups with varied ties to Israel and Judaism: North Americans, Israeli Americans, and individuals from the Former Soviet Union. The study conceptualizes DMS as a state led effort to cultivate an engaged diaspora and advance Jewish immigration. This framework enables examining DMS, beyond the immediate military context, as a site for identity exploration, cultural assimilation, and contemplating permanent immigration. Despite varied emphases, results show that DMS occurs in a migratory context as soldiers from all groups recognize service as essential for immigration, integration, and acceptance in Israel. The study formulates three motivational models that drive transnational military engagement across contexts: the “ideological model” among conviction-driven actors; the “mobility model” among those focused on upward mobility; and the “reconnection model” for cementing national belonging and avoid stigma.
  • Rethinking diaspora remittances in the post-Mugabe era in Zimbabwe

    Inocent Moyo (SpringerOpen, 2024-02-01)
    Abstract Based on a qualitative study of Zimbabwean migrants based in South Africa, who regularly remitted goods and money to Zimbabwe between 2010 and 2020, this paper suggests that at a local level, remittances alleviated poverty with very limited if any transformation of the political economy at the national level. Such remittances promoted consumerism without sustainable investment that can structurally transform the economy. In addition, the dependence on remittances entrenches the culture of migration at the local level, which also contributes to or promotes ethno-tribal fissiparity. In rethinking diaspora remittances in the post-Mugabe era, it is advanced that the seemingly intractable economic and political quagmire in Zimbabwe must be resolved to inspire confidence in the diaspora to pull remittances together for a national socio-economic cause and not local-level band-aid accomplishments which remittances currently do.
  • Return migration and embedding: through the lens of Brexit as an unsettling event

    Izabela Grabowska; Louise Ryan (SpringerOpen, 2024-02-01)
    Abstract This introductory paper, reflecting the Thematic Cluster of four papers, brings together two themes that are important for migration studies: return migration and embedding. Beyond any simplistic assumptions of settlement and permanent integration back into the origin country, following return, or notions of ongoing unfettered mobility back and forth over time, this article knits together data from the cluster papers, focusing on Lithuania and Poland, to explore factors that lead to return, or indeed non-return, and subsequent experiences in the ‘home’ country for those who do return. Moreover, using mixed methods, including longitudinal research, we advance a theoretical framework facilitating an examination of how returnees negotiate their lives in the origin society and whether they intend to stay, or migrate again, through the conceptual lens of embedding. While emphasising agency and effort, embedding also recognises structural constraints that may impede migrants’ expectations and aspirations. Hence, return migration may involve parallel processes of re-embedding but also experiences of dis-embedding as the hoped for return project encounters unexpected obstacles and may result in further migration. In mapping the field of return migration, through the concept of embedding, we focus on the impact of Brexit as ‘an unsettling event’.
  • Rewarding mobility? Towards a realistic European policy agenda for academics at risk

    Dina Gusejnova; Alina Dragolea; Andrea Pető; Andrei-Vlăduț Terteleac; Artemis Photiadou; Rebeka Bakos (SpringerOpen, 2024-01-01)
    Abstract This article maps from a critical and comparative perspective how scholars at risk are currently being integrated into the European research infrastructure, as well as in various EU and non-EU Member States. The focus is on three countries ranging from older to newer EU members to one non-EU member state—Hungary, Romania and the United Kingdom—as well as on EU-level organisations. We draw on twelve in-depth interviews conducted with key stakeholders involved in the process of academic migration (non-governmental organisations, EU and national level actors) to identify key issues concerning academics at risk. Finally, we call for a robust EU-level response to an issue that is currently inadequately addressed by national governments, professional associations and NGOs. As we argue, the focus on mobility as a factor supporting research excellence in the regular European research infrastructure can have negative unintended outcomes for scholars at risk. For many of them, rewarding mobility can entail the threat of losing their legal status in temporary places of migration. What is needed is a nuanced approach for scholars at risk in a diverse range of situations, which should involve closer cooperation between international academic bodies and EU policy makers, and complement support for those who need to escape to third countries with the offer of remote work in the country where they are able to obtain a secure residence permit.
  • ‘With a little help from my educated friends’: revisiting the role of social capital for immigrants’ labour market integration in Germany

    Julia Rüdel; Jan-Philip Steinmann (SpringerOpen, 2024-02-01)
    Abstract This article examines the link between immigrants’ social capital and their labour market access (employment) and success (occupational status) in Germany and contributes to previous research in two ways. Firstly, based on insights from theories of social capital and immigrant integration, we overcome the mere distinction between inter- and intra-ethnic ties. Instead, we approximate resources immigrants can access and mobilize by considering both the ethnic and socioeconomic compositions of their networks. Secondly, by using autoregressive cross-lagged panel models, we properly deal with the methodological challenge of endogeneity inherent to studies concerned with the relationship between social capital and labour market outcomes. Based on longitudinal data from the German Socio-Economic Panel the empirical findings indicate the necessity of considering both the ethnic and socioeconomic compositions of immigrants’ networks—as both have independent effects on immigrants’ labour market integration. We conclude that future research on the relationship between immigrants’ social capital and their economic integration may benefit from approximating resources available through social contacts by considering not only the ethnic dimension but also the socioeconomic dimension of contacts.
  • Anti-immigrant backlash: the Democratic Dilemma for immigration policy

    Zsolt Kapelner (SpringerOpen, 2024-03-01)
    Abstract Anti-immigrant backlash has emerged in recent years as a considerable threat to democracy. In many countries illiberal and anti-democratic political forces driven in part by anti-immigrant sentiment have damaged or threaten to damage the proper functioning of democratic institutions. Should policymakers try to avert this threat by implementing more restrictive immigration policy? If they do so, they may expose immigrants to unjust exclusion. If they do not, they may risk democratic dysfunction, even democratic failure. I will call this the Democratic Dilemma for immigration policy. In this paper I argue that this is a hard ethical dilemma that does not lend itself to a straightforward resolution. I propose an analytic and evaluative framework for assessing possible policy responses to the Dilemma to aid policymakers’ as well as the public’s ethical judgement.
  • Towards a precise and reflexive use of migration-related terminology in quantitative research: criticism and suggestions

    Lisa Marie Borrelli; Didier Ruedin (SpringerOpen, 2024-02-01)
    Abstract To describe migration-related phenomena, we need to reflect on the terminology and choose the most adequate one that allows us to determine whether migration is the (main) cause of a phenomenon, a consequence, or even unrelated and misattributed. We argue that the use of such terminology in quantitative and experimental research is often flawed because of its differentiated adoption in legal, political, or scientific contexts. To illustrate our argument, we focus on two commonly used terms, ‘second generation’ and ‘migration background’ to show that in many situations these terms do not accurately describe the population we study. In part, the terms imply a false homogeneity, focus on deficits, and perpetuate differences regarding national belonging where there may be structural reasons and other aspects, such as social class, that lie at the heart of observed differences. With a particular focus on quantitative research, we use survey evidence and a principled literature search, to show that both researchers and the general population often identify immigrants in terms of ethnic origin —  even though the term has its own pitfalls. We conclude that quantitative research should avoid reproducing state-created terminology and instead look beyond the strict field of immigration to consider other systems of classification like gender, ethnicity, language, or social class to reduce the negative attributes ascribed to non-citizens.
  • De-bordering policies at the city scale: strategies for building resilience in Barcelona's migration governance

    Ricard Zapata-Barrero (SpringerOpen, 2024-01-01)
    Abstract This article bridges the fields of urban politics, migration governance and border studies by exploring Barcelona as a case study. It raises a first critical question about what happens to so-called borderlands when "borders" move to other scales, such as cities that are not usually categorized as "border cities". Within this framing debate, this study explores two fundamental questions: (1) how border practices at the state level shape constrained relations between cities and migrants, and (2) how cities map de-bordering policies to resolve such constraints, which we conceptualise as an example of 'urban resilience'. The aim is to provide a focus that brings the analytical category of "urban resilience", recently proposed within the emerging debate on the "local turn" in migration studies, to bear on issues directly related to the social impacts of state bordering processes on urban systems. The article then argues that urban justice principles drive most cities to initiate resilient de-bordering policies, and can be seen as a distinctive normative factor underpinning urban resilience when applied to migration governance. After laying the groundwork for this theoretical framework and its application to the city of Barcelona, the final section briefly outlines the potential of this new and crucial critical area of migration research. This will provide yet another opportunity to highlight that we are likely to enter an era in which cities will increasingly become sovereign geopolitical entities within and beyond the traditional hierarchical reach of their own states.
  • Bridging the citizenship law implementation gap: a typology for comparative analysis

    Luuk van der Baaren (SpringerOpen, 2024-01-01)
    Abstract While major advances have been made over the past years in comparing citizenship laws globally, most measures remain restricted to the law-on-the-books. Knowledge about the implementation of these laws remains limited. This poses the question to what extent these measures correspond with the law as experienced by targeted populations. In order to overcome the implementation gap when comparing and measuring citizenship law globally, this paper addresses the question of how to gain a coherent understanding of implementation. Developing a comprehensive typology, the paper distinguishes three crucial elements of implementation: (1) the entry into force of legal provisions (capturing the applicable state of citizenship law), (2) the interpretation of law (the specific interpretation of legal provisions used by the authorities responsible for their execution), and (3) the application of law (executing legal provisions in practice by the authorities). Subsequently, the paper illustrates how this typology can be applied to the analysis of citizenship law implementation by a case study of dual citizenship acceptance, focusing on the renunciation requirement for naturalisation and dual citizenship treaties. The paper concludes by outlining directions for a comparative research agenda that better corresponds with the lived experience of citizenship laws.
  • Life experiences and cultural adaptation among migrant workers in Malaysia

    Azlizan Mat Enh; Andika Wahab; Arina Anis Azlan; Kartini Aboo Talib; Andi Muhammad Tri Sakti; Fazal Mohamed Mohamed Sultan (SpringerOpen, 2024-01-01)
    Abstract This study examines the state of migrants’ cultural adaptation in Malaysia, and how such an adaptation can help build our understanding of migrants’ life and employment experiences in the country. In doing so, this study has adopted a quantitative approach, with a completed survey towards 410 migrant respondents, living and working temporarily in Selangor, Malaysia. A multiple regression analysis finds that the three most significant predictors contributing to the respondents’ cultural adaptation are “positive experiences” (β = .677, p = .000), “closeness” (β = − .107, p = .008), and “social relationships” (β = .095, p = .032). While “positive experiences” and “social relationships” influence the migrant workers’ adaptation positively, the “closeness” predictor on the contrary (negative). Another predictor, “disconnection”, is found to be not statistically significant. The one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) reveals significant differences in the respondents’ cultural adaptation based on such demographic characteristics as age, gender, level of education, nationality, length of employment, and sector of employment. For instance, female migrants are strongly associated with a higher level of “positive experiences” [F(1, 408) = 6.321, p = .013] and “social relationships” [F(1, 408) = 5.634, p = .018], while male migrants tend to rely on cultural proximity (i.e., “closeness”) [F(1, 408) = 6.828, p = .009]. The discussion section highlights attributes such as the gender factor in cultural adaptation, preservation of cultural identities, and creation of migrants’ symbolic places to understand how cultural adaptation intersects with the migrant workers’ daily lives and experiences. This study concludes that as Malaysia’s economy continues to rely on migrant workers, it needs to better understand the workers’ cultural adaptation and their far-reaching impact on their life experiences and employment conditions in the country.
  • Political party offers of representation for minority voters: advertising in Chinese-language newspapers in New Zealand

    Kate McMillan; Fiona Barker; Caleb Hoyle (SpringerOpen, 2023-12-01)
    Abstract For reasons of both electoral competitiveness and democratic legitimacy, political parties in diverse democracies increasingly compete for the votes of immigrant and ethnic minority voters. A considerable literature has examined the effects of electoral advertising on the partisanship and turnout of targeted groups. Little attention has been given, however, to the nature of the representational offers contained in advertising that targets ethnic minorities. Do party advertisements offer descriptive representation, by featuring ethnic candidates? Do they offer geographic representation, by focusing on districts where ethnic minorities live? Do they offer to represent ethnic minorities’ specific interests or experiences? Where ethnic minorities are internally diverse, what efforts do parties make to address such diversity in their advertising? How parties answer these questions affects the scope and inclusivity of the representational offers extended to ethnic minority voters, with consequences for their political inclusion and representation. We examine how these questions have been answered in New Zealand, a country characterised by high rates of inward migration and the enfranchisement of resident non-citizens. Using data from a novel study of New Zealand political parties’ election advertisements targeting Chinese voters, we assess the quantity and character of representational offers made to this internally diverse minority group. Our findings suggest that, even as the main political parties are increasingly making specific representational offers to Chinese New Zealanders, these offers vary across the political spectrum in their quantity, scope and inclusiveness.
  • How organisations regulate Muslim body practices: a comparison of schools, hospitals, and swimming pools

    Maja Apelt; Annika Koch; Ines Michalowski; Kaspar Molzberger; Liane Schenk; Max Oliver Schmidt (SpringerOpen, 2023-11-01)
    Abstract In a comparison of three human service organisations in which the human body plays a key role, we examine how organisations regulate religious body practices. We concentrate on Muslim norms of dressing and undressing as a potential focal point of cultural and religious diversity. Inspired by Ray’s (2019) idea of racialized organizations, we assume that state-run organizations in Germany are characterized by a strong commitment to religious tolerance and non-discrimination but also marked by anti-Muslim sentiment prevalent among the German population. Our study looks for mechanism that explain how Human Service Organizations accommodate Muslim body practices. It draws on qualitative empirical data collected in state-run hospitals, schools and swimming pools in Germany. Our analyses show that the organizations draw on formal and informal rules at the organizational level to accommodate Islam. We identify five general organizational mechanisms that may hinder Muslim accommodation in human service organizations. In particular, we see a risk of decoupling between the expectation of religious tolerance and processes that lead to informal discrimination, driven mainly by the difficulty of controlling group dynamics among users.

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