Time for a Rethink

  • Malte SteinbrinkEmail author
  • Hannah Niedenführ
Part of the Springer Geography book series (SPRINGERGEOGR)


The translocal perspective is not yet fully established in social science. As an analytical perspective, translocality represents an alternative to some dominant approaches. In this chapter, we demonstrate the need for a change in perspective by highlighting the conceptual pitfalls of conventional approaches in migration studies and development research and practice. First, we take a critical look at previous research on the relationship between migration and development (Sect. 2.1), exploring how interdisciplinary research on this nexus has long been caught in two methodological traps: an “ideological trap” and a “territorial trap”. We then examine conventional urban/rural thinking in development research and cooperation (Sect. 2.2), showing that the container-spatial bias of this dichotomizing view can lead to some grave misconceptions of rural and urban development. From the analytical limitations of the traditional views, we derive the need for a rethink and introduce the idea of translocal livelihoods as a conceptual link between migration research and development studies (Sect. 2.3).


Translocal perspective Container-spatial thinking Rural/urban thinking Territorial trap Ideological trap Development theory Migration theory 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GeographyUniversity of PassauPassauGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural StudiesUniversity of OsnabrückOsnabrückGermany

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