Global Migration and the Contentious Politics of Citizenship

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 5:45 PM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Patricio KORZENIEWICZ , Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD
Our understanding of migration changes fundamentally once the relevant unit of analysis is shifted from the nation-state to the world as a whole. Elsewhere, we have argued that ascriptive criteria centered on national identity and citizenship, and the relevant state policies emerging thereof, have served as a fundamental basis of stratification and inequality in the world since the nineteenth century. Moreover, we have indicated that the growth of between-country inequality through most of the last two centuries became a driving force for the migration of labor and capital: growing income disparities between nations over time generated strong incentives (e.g., drastically lower wages in poor countries) for both the migration of workers to higher-wage markets and the “outsourcing” of skilled and unskilled jobs to peripheral countries. Both trends exercised a “market bypass” that over the last two decades have been overcoming the twentieth century institutional constraints on labor flows that characterized the development of the world-economy. In the proposed paper, we further specify and expand our arguments by developing a new model that identifies the main forces driving migration across the world-economy. We test this model by drawing on an original cross-national dataset on population flows: this exercise allows us to more precisely identify country- and region-specific patterns of outgoing and incoming migration, and to assess the relative weight of specific variables (e.g., wage differentials, income inequality, civil war, famine, geopolitical location and migration policy regimes) in explaining these patterns. Finally, we consider the social and political tensions that have accompanied recent changes in these migration patterns, discuss how these tensions are shaping the politics of citizenship across the world, and draw some theoretical implications for rethinking how Karl Polanyi’s concept of the “double movement” might be used to understand contemporary patterns of migration and its regulation.