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Using reflexivity to explain variations in migration among highly-skilled
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Sociology. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4823-3551
2018 (English)In: Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, ISSN 1070-289X, E-ISSN 1547-3384Article in journal (Other academic) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Migration literature has traditionally distinguished between different motivations of migration, such as labour, family and newly also lifestyle migration, never fully exploring the background of these motivations. This article suggests that these different motivations may be explained by different modes of reflexivity as distinguished by Margaret Archer. Linking modes of reflexivity with migration motivations addresses two problems in current migration literature. First, it provides for practical application of reflexivity in explaining migration motivations, which has been missing so far. Second, the article advocates using psycho-social approach as opposed to more commonly adapted ethnical or class based explanations in understanding migration behavior, hence avoiding the potential trap of falling into the trap of methodological nationalism or classism. Through the interview with highly-skilled Estonian migrants it is shown that the reasons of migration among highly skilled are versatile and cannot be explained solely by their class background.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keyword [en]
Reflexivity, Archer, highly skilled migration, Eastern Europe, lifestyle migration, biography
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32803DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.2017.1412179OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-32803DiVA, id: diva2:1109414
Note

Som manuskript i avhandling. As manuscript in dissertation.

Available from: 2017-06-14 Created: 2017-06-14 Last updated: 2018-02-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The answers you seek will never be found at home: Reflexivity, biographical narratives and lifestyle migration among highly-skilled Estonians
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The answers you seek will never be found at home: Reflexivity, biographical narratives and lifestyle migration among highly-skilled Estonians
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

Det övergripande syftet med denna avhandling är att undersöka förhållandet mellan migration, reflexivitet och social klass. I fokus för den empiriska analysen står högt kvalificerade estniska emigranter. Reflexivitet har hittills inte varit ett viktigt begrepp i migrationsstudier. Även om vissa studier använt ordet reflexivitet, har det i huvudsak fungerat som bakgrundsbegrepp. Det finns en påtaglig brist på empiriskt orienterade studier av reflexivitet i migrationsstudier.

Avhandlingen består av fyra artiklar med något olika inriktning. Den första undersöker det empiriska fallet i sin helhet utifrån en survey-undersökning om estniska migranter. Den andra artikeln diskuterar den brittiske sociologen Margaret Archers sätt att analysera migration och argumenterar i hennes efterföljd för ett socialpsykologiskt synsätt på de skiftande motiven att migrera. Den tredje artikeln utmanar tanken på att migranters återvändande i huvudsak kan förstås som saknad efter sociala relationer och känslor av hemlängtan. I den fjärde artikeln föreslås ett sätt för livsstilsorienterade migrationsstudier att hantera frågan om reflexivitet. Här positioneras livsstilsmigranter teoretiskt till andra typer av migranter och hur variationer ilivsstilsmigration kan analyseras. Trots inbördes variation har samtliga artiklar en gemensam nämnare.

Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on issues around reflexivity and highly skilled migration. Reflexivity has been an underused concept in migration studies and incurporating it has been long overdue. By reflexivity this thesis understands the capacity of an actor to evaluate his or her position in relation to social structures, to take action in managing those structures and, finally, to critically revise both the position and action taken.

There are multiple reasons as to why incorporating reflexivity is a useful endeavor to migration studies. On one hand, using reflexive types in order to understand different migration motivations offers an alternative to otherwise mainly class based explanations behind migration objectives. Migration research has long relied on the idea that migration motivations can be coupled with societal and class background. Similarly, return migration has been described almost unanimously as a result of a homing desire. Both positions, as claimed in this thesis, are oversimplifications. On the other hand, I argue that, reflexivity helps to analyze the importance of class or even society on migration in 21th century. This is why I suggest to analyze all three in concurrence – migration, reflexivity and class.

In the following pages I analyze how reflexivity can be operationalized for studying migration. So far, reflexivity has been either used as background concept – mobility studies or for explaining particular kind of migration – lifestyle migration. I argue, that with careful operationalization reflexivity could be useful tool for explaining wide-variety of migrations – family, labour, lifestyle etc. Three articles in this thesis focus on providing such operationalizations, analyzing the relationship between migration motivations and reflexivity. Finally, the first article in this thesis analyzes the background of my particular group of migrants – Estonian highly skilled migrants and positions them in relation to other groups in Estonian society. Moreover, the article also underlines that self-development and lifestyle, if you will, is an important motivation for Eastern European migrants as well.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2017. p. 94
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 140
Keyword
reflexivity, highly skilled migration, Eastern Europe, lifestyle migration, Östeuropa, reflexivitet, migration
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32794 (URN)978-91-88663-03-0 (ISBN)978-91-88663-03-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-09-29, MA624, Alfred Nobels allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Available from: 2017-09-07 Created: 2017-06-13 Last updated: 2017-09-25Bibliographically approved

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