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Understanding Internal Migration: A Conceptual Framework

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Internal Migration in the Countries of Asia

Abstract

Emanating from a wide range of disciplinary perspectives, theoretical approaches to understanding migration are diverse and extensive. This chapter argues that micro and macro-approaches provide complementary insights into migration behaviour and processes, but also takes an explicitly macro-level perspective to our understanding of cross-national variations in migration. After retracing the retreat from aggregate-level analysis in the 1980s and its recent recovery, this chapter reviews two influential bodies of theory in the search for better understanding of cross-national variations in migration, namely Zelinsky’s Hypothesis of a Mobility Transition and Skeldon’s thesis linking Mobility and Development. The chapter then sets out a conceptual framework against which it is proposed that three dimensions of migration can be interpreted, linking (1) migration intensity to national economic development, (2) the age profile of migration to life-course transitions and (3) the direction of migration flows to the evolution of settlement patterns. The chapter concludes that the application of this framework to multiple countries should reveal how different facets of migration are systematically related to form broad sequences, and provide refined insights into the particular mix of forces that shape the evolution of various aspects of migration in each national context.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For comprehensive reviews of migration theory see for example Massey et al. (1993); Boyle et al. (1998); de Haas (2010); Fielding (2015); Skeldon (1997); White (2016).

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Bernard, A., Bell, M., Charles-Edwards, E., Zhu, Y. (2020). Understanding Internal Migration: A Conceptual Framework. In: Bell, M., Bernard, A., Charles-Edwards, E., Zhu, Y. (eds) Internal Migration in the Countries of Asia. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44010-7_2

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