4/02/2015: GTD Colloquium “Migration Mechanisms of the Middle Range” by Godfried Engbersen (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Migration Mechanisms of the Middle Range

by Godfried Engbersen (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Globalisation, Transnationalism & Development Colloquium organized in association with Maastricht Centre for Citizenship, Migration and Development (MACIMIDE)

Abstract: This presentation explores a mechanism-based explanation of migration flows. Firstly, it makes a plea for the analysis of ‘migration mechanisms of the middle range’. Secondly, it reveals the relevance of such an approach by analyzing the social mechanism of diminutive causation, the counterpart of the concept of cumulative causation (Massey). Diminutive causation entails a dynamic multi-level explanation with interconnected macro-, meso- and micro-factors. In particular, we analyze the role of migrant networks in reducing immigration from Morocco to the Netherlands. Three aspects are examined: (1) changing beliefs and motivations of migrants in the Netherlands to support prospective migrants (situational mechanism); (2) migration-undermining feedback provided by migrants to prospective migrants (action-formation mechanism) and (3) the changing nature of migration cultures and migratory aspirations in Morocco due to the migration-undermining feedback from settled migrants in the Netherlands (transformational mechanism). Thirdly, it argues that is crucial to move beyond migrant networks, not only by taking into account macro institutional factors (labor markets, state policies), but also by analyzing the relevance of other feedback channels. Cumulative or diminutive causation works not only through migrant networks but also through new feedback channels provided by the social media. Insights into the functioning of ‘traditional’ and ‘new’ channels of feedback is important for understanding endogenous and exogenous feedback mechanisms.

See event page.