Not the Exception, but the Rule: Migration in Human History
by Leo Lucassen
Messages about mass migration to Europe appear in the news media every day. Is what is happening now in Europe so unique? If we want to understand the long-term development of social and cultural change, migration is the key. In contrast to what many people assume, humans have always been highly mobile and the ensuing cross-cultural contacts were crucial for forging change. Although the consequences could be horrific (mass killings), in most cases they were relatively peaceful and produced an endless stream of technical, cultural and social innovations.
Leo Lucassen is Director of Research of the International Institute of Social History (IISH) in Amsterdam and professor of Global Labour and Migration History at the University of Leiden. He published widely on migration, labour and social engineering. Some of his recent publications include The Immigrant Threat: the integration of old and new migrants in Western Europe since 1850 (2005), Winnaars en verliezers. Een nuchtere balans van 500 jaar immigratie (Amsterdam 2011, 4th edition 2014); The Encyclopedia of Migration and Minorities in Europe. From the 17th century to the present (New York 2011); Gewinner und Verlierer. Fünf Jahrhunderten Immigration. Eine Nüchterne Bilanz (Münster & New York 2014) and Globalising Migration History. The Eurasian experience (16th-21st centuries (Leiden and Boston 2014).