The Would-Be Migrant

By: Xiang Biao, University Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Photo by Nicola Kiltley,Entry COMPAS Photo Competition 2012

Photo by Nicola Kiltley,Entry COMPAS Photo Competition 2012

Outmigration was a common topic in daily conversations in northeast China, where I did my fieldwork from 2004 to 2008. In discussion, though, there was no generic concept equivalent to ‘migrant’ or ‘out-migrant’. People talked about specific individuals only (“Zhang in Singapore working as a shop assistant”). The closest expression to ‘(out-)migrant’ was ‘those who have gone abroad’. However, the phrase was seldom used and did not mean much more than such purely descriptive terms as ‘those who are lucky’ or ‘those who are tall’. In contrast, the expression ‘those who wait to go abroad’ was often heard. It referred to a category of people who share certain characteristics. For instance, people would say “those who want to go abroad are ambitious” or “I don’t want to do business with those who wait to go abroad”. ‘Those who wait to go abroad’ are ‘would-be migrants’ who were exploring possibilities of outmigration actively to the extent that their daily lives were significantly changed.

Continue reading

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Email
Posted in Flows and Dynamics, journey, labour markets, migration, research | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Anthology of writing about migration available free online

By: Michael Keith, Director, and Bridget Anderson, COMPAS Deputy Director

This blog was first posted by Migrants’ Rights Network, 15 April 2014.

This week the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford publishes online a free resource for all interested in migration today and its consequences.  Migration: The COMPAS Anthology brings together short prose pieces and collections of poetry and photography and can be found at http://compasanthology.co.uk.

book-cover2aThe collection is intended to inform and provoke. By inform we mean that we want to provide a source of materials for publics interested in work that takes migration as its focus, easily accessible for both academic and non-academic audiences; individual readers, civil society organisations, community groups and NGOs with an interest in migration. It includes a range of scholarship addressing topics in the UK and across the globe. We hope it will be useful for school and university teachers as a readily available resource giving access to some of the more recent writing in migration studies from a range of international scholars. We have used a creative commons license for the collection that has both a practical and an ethical dimension. Either the whole anthology or individual pieces can be downloaded as a PDF or in an ebook readable format. We hope that everybody will feel free to distribute the pieces as far and widely as possible.

Continue reading

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Email
Posted in Citizenship and Belonging, emigration, Flows and Dynamics, human rights, immigration, integration, journey, labour markets, media, migration, research, The Migration Observatory, Urban Change and Settlement, Welfare | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Claiming the flag

By: Ole Jensen, Research Officer

Mid-April, and approaching another St. George’s Day. Last year, at approximately this time, we were getting ready for the first leg of the EUMIA fieldwork, focussing on the St. George’s Day celebration in Bermondsey, South London. In this blog, I will discuss the significance of this celebration as both a successful, locally led community event and an inclusive coming together around something that is, essentially, very English (though St George is actually, as many local residents and stakeholders told us, the patron saint of not just England, but a wide range of countries and cities around the world).

Capturing the flag
Winner photocomp 2011
In comparison to, for example, Scandinavian countries where use of the national flag is associated with any kind happy event, the English flag is used with much more restraint. Apart from sports events – typically football tournaments where myriads of St George’s flag emerge, only to disappear again after another lost penalty shoot-out – the English flag has been out of favour in the public sphere, ‘successfully’ captured by far-right political parties and therefore often widely frowned upon by ‘polite society’.

Continue reading

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Email
Posted in event, integration, research, Urban Change and Settlement | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Nikkei Cuisine: understanding immigration through food

By: Ayumi Takenaka, Research Officer

Peruvian food marketFood can tell us a lot about immigrant integration.  Immigration transforms local food; immigrants, in turn, assimilate local food into their diets. Through the transformation of food, one can see how immigrants adapt and identify in the host society, as well as how they are identified and accepted by it.

Japanese immigrants and their descendants in Peru, collectively called Nikkei, are a case in point. Long ambivalent about their identity, Nikkei Peruvians are comfortably at home in Peru today, as manifested by the emergence and proliferation of Nikkei food, or Cocina Nikkei, in Peru and elsewhere.

Continue reading

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Email
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recognition and redistribution in Latin America: Reflections on the meaning of multiculturalism

By Anna Krausova, Research Officer

The concept of multiculturalism is often an integral part of the debate on migration in the UK; and in recent years, proclamations that ‘multiculturalism has failed’ have frequently been made in the public debate. This has attracted empirical studies examining the consequences of multicultural policies, with some researchers being able to show convincingly that multicultural policies in the UK do not appear to have been detrimental to integration and community cohesion (e.g. Heath & Demireva, 2014). Yet the notion of ‘failed multiculturalism’ does not seem to have been particularly weakened in some public and political discourses.

2nd PLACE McGrath, Sandra, Hopes and Dreams, Photo Comp12

‘Hopes and Dreams’ by Sandra McGrath
(COMPAS Photo Competition, 2012)

In spite of the potency of the claim, perhaps not enough attention has been paid to the theoretical foundations of the concept of multiculturalism itself. Delving deeper into what we actually mean by multiculturalism could help to problematise the term further, allowing us to think more critically about what kinds of multiculturalisms we can think of as normatively acceptable as well as empirically beneficial.

Continue reading

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Email
Posted in integration, migration | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment