SOCC25 W 2
The purpose of this weeks readings
- The value of theory in understanding current phenomena
- The pitfalls of uncritical theorizing
- The politics of research
- The idea of objectivity is a myth. There is no such thing as subjectivity.
Objectivity is impossible to divorce myself from myself. No matter how hard I
try he will have a bit of myself when proposing. The analysis that I employ is
going to include a bit of myself.
- This idea of objectivity is just producing knowledge that is neutral according
to theorists we are looking at today is simply not true.
Understanding Global Migration
Theories regarding migration are outdated
The amount of research on the movements of people is higher than ever
Current theories cannot explain the variance of experiences, the availability
of migration, etc.
A key problem is the tendency to see migration as a quite distinct from broader
social relationships and change processes (p. 1566).
- He talks about how migration is being studied a lot but most is using
outdated theories. The way theories are constructed has to do with ability of
migration, different people, and complexity of migration.
- He says the key problem in theorizing migration is quite distinct from
broader social relationships and change processes.
- This has to do with understanding and its fear. When people look at Housing,
they only look at housing. Without taking a closer look, they dont really
study the effective networks and abilities.
Migration as a term
He starts talking about terminology
Some theorists have called for the abolition of the word migration given how typical
the movement of peoples appears
- Most people have neither the economic resources nor the political rights
needed for free movement. The postmodern utopia of a borderless world of
mobility has not yet dawned, so that it still seems appropriate to focus on
migration as a process based on inequality and discrimination, and
controlled and limited by states (p. 1567).
- Migration is expensive, the poorest of the poor are not able to migrate
- Migration policies favor northern nations and consistently restrict south-
north migration - Theories of evolution of migration have to do with typical movement of
people. People can go from Point A to B without barriers. This analysis has to
do with Northern American.
o American people can go to just about anywhere in the world.
o But from Middle East you dont experience the benefit of the doubt.
You have to prove that you are not going to overstay and wealthy
enough. In every year there are additional movement of rules. There
needs to be political movement that eliminates states.
- Not the poorest of poor migrate. Migration is expensive.
o He said the difference between mobility and migration how it can be
operationalized. Both take skills n accumulation. What determines
skills and what is not?
o Migration lower skilled people move.
Mobility vs. Migration
Mobility and migration are socially constructed terms
Both labels take a classist approach to skill accumulation
Mobility is understood as the movement across borders of the highly skilled
Migration seen as the movement of lower skilled people
The construction of both terms heavily influenced by power relations
a dominant political discourse sees migration as a problem that needs to be
fixed by appropriate policies. The repressive variant is tight border control, the
more liberal one is addressing the root causes of migrationso that people do not
have to migrate. Either way, migration is seen as harmful and dysfunctional (p.
- Who are highly skilled people? High level of education and those that is very
wealthy (even though they are not educated, if they have money that is their
- Who is low skilled? Domestic workers, farmers, plumbers, etc. but we have to
be critical about these jobs and what they mean.
- What does it mean to say how Accountants are more skilled than Waiters?
- For someone to receive accreditation, schools must have been a paradigm of
o Understanding the legitimacy and merit who is a legit doctor or not.
The global south, people who are in the South dont have much merit,
thats why we have so many doctors driving cab in Toronto.
o When we begin to think deeper into this, we begin to see how race
plays factor in this. Who is required to take additional courses? Who is
required to prove their knowledge and who isnt?
- The concept is influenced by power relations
o This is a problem that needs to be fixed by appropriate policies.
Migration is seen as harmful and dysfunctional. By the distinction
above. What does it mean to be understood as the problem?
Sedentary bias Idea that the poor are a threat to wealthy nations and must be kept at home
Current iterations include ideas of circular migration as an ideal mode of
Often referred to as a win-win for migrant sending and receiving nations
Temporary worker programs
In the Canadian context the discourse revolves around a humanitarian practice
of giving employment to the global poor while enabling them to invest in their home
Exploitation and dehumanization are inherent parts of this program
- Bias that happens in migration theory Of course we know these threats,
idea of abuse, who is abusing the system, who are understood as violent
subjects, who will be dependent on states, etc.
- When we look at a set of program it has to meet the Art program.
o It is the program that brought extra arms to do labour, and when they
are done they are disposed.
o There are endless supplies of arms available.
o As soon as someone gets injured, they are giving employment to
people that have no job in their home country
o . They are sending them back so they can use that money in order to
make that country better. That is the discourse.
- How disposed the cheap labour cost how wealthy these workers work in
o In order to do work you have to be certain age, certain kids, etc.
because you want people that want to go back.
o But there is no health standards, no housing standards, health
benefits, etc. To get out of farm you have to ask for permission for
employer. If you have problem you get deported and dont get to ask
for a different employer. You dont get future contract and if you get
injured you also get sent back. That is how arm program actually
- El Contrato he talks about what is inherent in a lot of immigration research.
His understanding of migration as a whole problem. If you are political you
will crack down who is coming in. if you are more on the left, u will make
sure that they dont have to migrate but still understand them as a problem.
The understanding of migration as a problem affects the ways research is
conducted, the questions that are asked, and the ways findings are analyzed.
According to Castles migration theory should not be based on an understanding
that migration is bad and thus an endeavor to find ways for people to stay home.
If there is a normative goal, it should not be to reduce migration but to find
ways in which it could take place under conditions of equality and respect for
human rights (1568-1569) - So he has a theoretical bias. He tries to provide solution migration is bad
and will make people stay home.
o If there is a goal you shouldnt introduce migration but find ways to
meet equality and human rights. Theorizing migration should be
contextualizing in which diff bodies migrate.
o Different forces effect migration on diff scales
Macro level (free trade agreement, IMF, etc.) or Micro level.
o How does one decide to migrate - what are diversity, complexity, what
makes them decide to migrate?
o Then he takes this idea whether there should be a single theory of
how migration happens. When you look at the literatures you find diff
ways to find people of diff borders. Often, theories dont match.
Researchers know social fears into disciplinary approaches = a lot of
researchers build upon already bad theory rather than trying to
engage in different theories and integrate them into more broader
A single theory of migration?
Migration research is divided across disciplinary boundaries
While researchers know that migration cuts across all social spheres,
interdisciplinary approaches have been more additive than integrative
Disconnect between sub-fields
Area studies, forced migration, internal vs. international migration all
considered separate fields of study with little crosspollination.
The link between government funding and migration research can affect the
research questions asked, the scope of projects, and the potential recommendations
Furthermore, policy-driven research often provides simplistic, short-term
remedies to complex, long-te