2012: Migration and migration research in the new economic order (1)

How and to what extent will the economic crisis affect migration? This is clearly a complex and composite question that requires many answers. As a starting point, I would suggest that we should look not only to migration flows, trends, patterns, systems, networks and stocks but also to the experiences of actual migrants and to the settlement conditions that are produced directly and indirectly by changing economic conditions which are opening up as much as closing down spaces and opportunities for migrants and migration. While the economic instability is certainly global, it is not felt in the same way everywhere and as a result of the crisis, new economic power geometries will emerge or consolidate. Migration is a responsive phenomenon (although with a history) and will certainly recognise emerging opportunities and changing realities. Will migration scholars be able to capture it? Migration studies as a field of research is closely intertwined with policy making and has often a Western-centric bias that comes as unchallenged. The research agenda is often set elsewhere by statutory and non-statutory donors whose interests are mainly local and national or at most regional (e.g. EU), what happens elsewhere, in the global South (incidentally, the label will soon become obsolete) for example may easily escape the gaze of mainstream migration scholarship. As a result we may end up seeing a lot of work on the negative impacts of the crisis and much less on the new geographies of migration which are likely to be not-Western centric.

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