Survey of migration researchers
The field of migration studies is vibrant and full of young and established scholars, often working in an interdisciplinary context. These scholars study many different topics.
Researchers spoke of migration in terms of mobility, as ‘non-static’, as part and parcel of life, as ‘temporary’ and an ever ongoing process of movements and relations, as trajectories accompanied with flows of information and money.
Dr. Ben Page (UCL Geography Department) has kindly shared two presentations of some of the main themes in recent academic research in migration geographies.
These provide insights into current powerful geographic knowledge in this field.
For teaching migration at school they brought up a number of interesting ideas, for example:
- How are ‘flows’ in migration processes addressed? What are these ‘arrows’ on the map? Where does the data come from? Are migrants ‘behaving’ as the arrows? What about trajectories?
- Push and pull: looking at multiple pulls/pushes, the role of information, networks, the role of ambitions and competences, and migration as a non-static phenomenon
- Destinations and the contribution of migrants to places, migrants agency, and the majority of a minority in big cities for example.
- Identities, belonging, home making and transnationality in migrant lives.
In comparing the ideas of the migration experts with the curriculum at schools, we can identify some important lessons.
The first one was to make sure migration is understood not as a static phenomenon but as a non-static one, as part of life and ongoing.
A second lesson was to study migration in the context of globalisation, of technological change in which migration takes place, in order to get a better understanding.
The third one was to change teaching perspectives from the receiving country to transnationalism – or the diffusion of social, political, economic processes in between nation-states.
And the last lesson was to not consider migrants as a poor minority, but instead as a group of peoples with agency, influencing the places where they stay.