An 'untied' research agenda for family migration; loosening the 'shackles' of the past

Smith, D.P. (2004) An 'untied' research agenda for family migration; loosening the 'shackles' of the past Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 30 (2). pp. 263-282. ISSN 1369-183X

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Abstract

This paper focuses on recent methodological and theoretical developments associated with studies of long-distance family migration. The starting point for the discussion is that previous quantitative-based studies have over-privileged economic-related outcomes, and masked the underlying social and cultural decision-making processes of family migrants. Emphasising the perceived merits of qualitative frameworks to tease out the 'non-economic' dimensions of family migration, the paper identifies two issues of concern. First, some current under-researched themes of family migration are illuminated, and an unfolding research agenda for qualitative studies of family migration is outlined. It is contended that this provides a useful entrée to future research activities. Second, and with this in mind, the paper stresses the need for more sophisticated analyses of the human agency of family migrants. Therefore, and building upon Halfacree's thesis of the intentional/unintentional agency of family migrants, an adaptation of Giddens' stratification model of action is presented. It is argued that this will allow a more structurationist reading of family migration decision-making processes, and a fuller understanding of non-economic processes and outcomes. Finally, the paper stresses the complementarity between qualitative and quantitative methods, and calls for the utilisation of mixed-method research designs for studies of family migration.

Item Type: Journal article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Long-Distance Family Migration; Qualitative Methods; Biographical Approach; Agency
Subjects: F000 Physical Sciences > F800 Physical Geography and Environmental Sciences
L000 Social Sciences > L700 Human and Social Geography
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1080/1369183042000200696
Faculties: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environment and Technology > Society, Space and Environment
Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environment and Technology
Depositing User: editor environment
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 02 May 2012 10:31
URI: http://eprints.brighton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1321

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