Why do people (want to) migrate? Seeking new answers to an old question

Prof. Jørgen Carling, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

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.



Venue: 0.16/0.17

Date: 14 December 2016

Time: 12:00 - 13:00


UNU-MERIT