Forced or Voluntary Migration? The case for a relational approach to a theoretical divide
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Although many scholars have acknowledged the ambiguous distinction between voluntary and forced migration for some time, empirical research and the policy discourse on these 'types' of migration remains stubbornly divided. There are those who tend to study only refugees or 'forced' migration flows while others tend to study 'voluntary' migration such as labour migration. I explore a possible bridge to this divide by making the case for a relational approach to migration. The bridge is not an ideological one but rather based in the very reality of migration as both voluntary and forced. More importantly, that empirical reality is understood not only as existing within individuals and individual migration paths, but also as part of larger networks of relations that are involved in the migration process. A relational approach to migration avoids the pitfalls of studying migration as types by focusing instead on the relations themselves.
Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies
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