14/12/2016 Migration Seminar – ‘Why do people (want to) migrate? Seeking new answers to an old question’

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The migration seminar series, which is offered jointly by MGSoG/UNU-MERIT in collaboration with MACIMIDE, features researchers and practitioners whose work addresses human mobility.

In the upcoming seminar, Prof. Jørgen Carling (Peace Research Institute Oslo) will present “Why do people (want to) migrate? Seeking new answers to an old question”. The seminar will be held from 12:00-13:00 in room 0.16/0.17 of the UNU-MERIT building at Boschstraat 24. A sandwich lunch will be provided.

Abstract: Understanding the causes of migration lies at the core of migration research but remains an enigmatic issue. How can we possibly answer the question ‘why do people migrate’? There is enormous variation in individual circumstances and motivation, so this is essentially a context-dependent empirical question. But it a general theoretical challenge to find out what types of answers we should be looking for. It is clearly inadequate to equate administrative grounds for admission-such as family, labour, or refuge-with grounds for migrating, but doing so remains the dominant mind set. In this seminar I will present work in progress that aims to differentiate reasons for migrating in other ways. I start with the observation that migration desires do not necessarily lead to actual migration, and argue that we therefor need to examine why people want to migrate (or not), regardless of whether they subsequently succeed. I then present elements of a tentative conceptual framework that categorizes and disaggregates reasons for migration.

Speaker biography: More information on Jørgen can be found on the PRIO website at https://www.prio.org/People/Person/?x=5122 or on his personal website, https://jorgencarling.wordpress.com/.