EDITORIAL: Social Mobility and Migration

By Medda-Windischer, Roberta; Danson, Mike et al. | Migration Letters, September 2012 | Go to article overview

EDITORIAL: Social Mobility and Migration


Medda-Windischer, Roberta, Danson, Mike, Morén-Alegret, Ricard, Gaye, Mamadou, Migration Letters


Abstract

Migration is a type of geographical mobility. This kind of mobility across space can also be related to socio-economic mobility. The study of such a combination of territorial and socio-economic movements is becoming more relevant because, on the one hand, some places are currently being reconstructed by an increase in geographical mobility. On the other hand, during the last decades, debates about socio-economic mobility have been increasing too. This special issue addresses a number of questions concerning social mobility that are at the heart of contemporary debates and have given rise to quite divergent policy prescriptions. It is quite clear that in the present economic and political environment it is unlikely that any sort of agreement about how to develop new policy regimes in this field will be easy to achieve. On the contrary, it seems likely that this will remain an area full of controversy and conflict for some time to come.

Keywords: social mobility, human rights, social capital, informal networks, rural immigration

This special issue ultimately addresses a number of questions concerning social mobility, among others: Which structural barriers need to be overcome to achieve more social and economic mobility? Which policy measures are incentive to reinforce social and economic mobility? Which best-practice policies and structural changes do promote equal opportunities and social cohesion? All of these questions are at the heart of contemporary debates and have given rise to quite divergent policy prescriptions. It is quite clear that in the present economic and political environment it is unlikely that any sort of agreement about how to develop new policy regimes in this field will be easy to achieve. On the contrary, it seems likely that this will remain an area full of controversy and conflict for some time to come. In this present special issue of "Migration Letters" a selection of contributions presented at the conference "Social Mobility and Migration. Multidisciplinary Perspectives" (Bolzano /Bozen, 21 June 2011) organised by EURAC and Zemit within the Migralp/Interreg project, are collected.

During recent years, the number of migrants in most European countries has increased significandy. Governments, public administrations and civil society are challenged to integrate migrants and persons with migrant backgrounds into society. Increased migration is not only an enormous challenge for the European Union and its member states, but also for the individual regions and provinces that play an increasingly important role in planning and implementing national immigration policies. As such, a response at the local level more accurately provides for the needs of specific territories in terms of housing, employment, education and health care.

Migration is a type of geographical mobility. This kind of mobility across space can also be related to socio-economic mobility, both upwards to a better life and downwards to a worse living condition. Socio-economic mobility sometimes occurs within a single place, without migration, but today socioeconomic movements are often related to a change of residence place (or having more than one home at once).

As time goes by, the study of such a combination of territorial and socioeconomic movements is becoming more relevant because, on the one hand, some places are currendy being reconstructed by an increase in geographical mobility, with more people being on the move (e.g. through improved transport and information technologies) and some institutions and social practices are becoming more mobile too (Sheller and Urry, 2006; Urry, 2007). Additionally, on the other hand, during the last decades, debates about socioeconomic mobility have been increasing too. In the UK, for instance, there are studies suggesting the need to improve social mobility there (e.g. Crawford et al, 201 1) and, in countries where there have been economic booms, socioeconomic mobility has taken place hand in hand with the arrival of immigrants. …

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