The Anthropology of Globalization: Cultural Anthropology Enters the 21st Century

By Ted C. Lewellen | Go to book overview

Chapter 6

Migration: People on the Move

The changes in migration patterns are not merely matters of individual choice but rather reveal structural factors beyond the control of individuals.

James Mittleman 1

Thus, in the United States as well as in Mexico, the place of putative community—whether regional or national—is becoming little more than a site in which transnationally organized circuits of capital, labor, and communications intersect with one another and with local ways of life.

Roger Rouse 2

There is nothing new about long-term, long-distance migration. At the turn of the 21st century, an estimated 100 million people live outside of their countries of original citizenship. 3 While this figure is impressive, it is less than 2% of the world's population, which means that, at any given time, 98% are staying home, or at least within their own national borders (Hammar and Tamas 1997:1). Percentage-wise this is not historically unusual, nor is it exceptionally significant in regard to world structural change. Archeologists tell us that our prehistoric ancestors migrated out of Africa, spreading through Asia and Europe, crossing oceans to the Americas and Australia. History is replete with mass movements, often based in military action, such as Alexander's conquests, Rome's policy of colonization, the spread of Islam, and the migratory conquests of Genghis Khan and his followers. After 1500, with the Industrial Revolution and the emer-

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