Skip to main content

Democracy on the Move?

The Potential Link Between Circular Migration and Democratization

Part of the United Nations University Series on Regionalism book series (UNSR,volume 12)

Abstract

This chapter argues that circular migration may contribute to transformation in areas that have so far been rarely touched upon in the debate. Besides the transfer of financial remittances and professional skills, political and (un)democratic attitudes and practices may also be diffused through temporary or circular migration. Based on a survey among 1000 Philippine return migrants from six destinations and qualitative research, this chapter shows that at an individual level, the migration experience may have a positive or negative influence on the democratic attitudes of migrants. This effect might be enforced through circular migration, because it provides the migrant with a regular “reality check” in comparing home and destination country. The findings are discussed with reference to a clearly democratic country (Japan), a clearly authoritarian state (Saudi Arabia) and the “special case” of Hong Kong. For policy makers, the case studies allow to draw a conclusion that opens up new vistas: If circular migrants should contribute to the development in their home countries, it is of utmost importance to provide them with opportunities for organizing and political participation while being abroad.

Keywords

  • Migration
  • Democratisation
  • Circular migration
  • Philippines
  • Return migrants
  • Development
  • Hong Kong
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Japan
  • Social movement

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-28896-3_10
  • Chapter length: 22 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
eBook
USD   109.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-319-28896-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book
USD   149.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Notes

  1. 1.

    For up-to-date information on the GFMD process see the official website http://gfmd.org/ and the authors’ blog http://gfmd-blog.com

  2. 2.

    This became apparent in several policy meetings attended by the author, among them the conference on “temporary migration – a success story or a myth?”, organised by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) on 29 March 2012 in Berlin.

  3. 3.

    This section is based on the findings of the research project ‘Democratisation through Migration?’ conducted between 2005 and 2007 by the Arnold- Bergstraesser Institute Freiburg, Germany, in cooperation with Social Weather Stations (SWS), Quezon City. Funding was provided by the Foundation Population, Migration and Environment, based in Stafa, Switzerland. Project members were Jürgen Ruland, Christl Kessler and the author. Further discussion were conducted in the Freiburg Southeast Asia Area Studies Program, supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

  4. 4.

    For a more detailed description of the research design, see Kessler and Rother (2016), Chap. 3.

  5. 5.

    The items were political corruption, crime, trust in police, social security and economic performance. Respondents were asked to assess these issues on a six-point bipolar scale for both the host country and the Philippines.

  6. 6.

    Based on the answers regarding options to abandon Congress and elections and replace them with a strong leader, experts or military government or a ban on the opposition.

  7. 7.

    Items covered were: attended a political meeting, signed a petition, attended a demonstration, contacted media, and ran for public office.

References

  • Brubaker, R. (2005). The ‘diaspora’ diaspora. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28(1), 1–19.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Easton, D., & Dennis, J. (1969). Children in the political system. Origins of political legitimacy. New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Faist, T. (2000). The volume and dynamics of international migration and transnational social spaces. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Fargues, P. (2008). Circular migration: Is it relevant for the South and East of the Mediterranean?. Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, CARIM-AS Analytic and Synthetic Notes- Circular Migration Series, 2008/40. http://www.eui.eu/Personal/fargues/Documents/CARIM_AS%26N_2008_40.pdf. Accessed 25 June 2012.

  • Glick Schiller, N., Basch, L., & Blanc-Szanton, C. (Eds.). (1992). Towards a transnational perspective on migration. Race, class, ethnicity, and nationalism reconsidered. New York: New York Academy of Sciences.

    Google Scholar 

  • Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM). (2005). Migration in an interconnected world: New directions for action. Report of the Global Commission on International Migration. http://www.refworld.org/docid/435f81814.html. Accessed 14 Apr 2012.

  • Hollifield, J. F. (2008). The politics of international migration. How can we bring the state back in? In C. B. Brettell & J. F. Hollifield (Eds.), Migration theory. Talking across disciplines (2nd ed., pp. 183–237). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hugo, G. (2009). Circular migration and development: An Asia-Pacific perspective. Multicultural Centre of Prague (migrationonline.cz). http://aa.ecn.cz/img_upload/6334c0c7298d6b396d213ccd19be5999/GHugo_CircularMigrationAndDevelopment.pdf. Accessed 6 Apr 2012.

  • Human Rights Watch (HRW). (2004). Bad dreams: Exploitation and abuse of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia. 16(5). http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/saudi0704.pdf. Accessed 20 Apr 2012.

  • Huymans, J. (2000). The European union and the securitization of migration. Journal of Common Market Studies, 38(5), 751–777.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Itzigsohn, J., & Villacrés, D. (2008). Migrant political transnationalism and the practice of democracy: Dominican external voting rights and Salvadoran home town associations. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(4), 664–686.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Kapur, D. (2003). Remittances: The new development Mantra?. Paper prepared for the G-24 Technical, Discussion Paper Series, 29. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kessler, C., & Rother, S. (2016). Democratization through migration? Political remittances and participation of Philippine return migrants. Lanham: Lexington Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Law, L. (2002). Sites of transnational activism. Filipino non-government organizations in Hong Kong. In B. S. A. Yeo, P. Teo, & S. Huang (Eds.), Gender politics in the Asia-Pacific region (pp. 205–222). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Levitt, P. (1998). Social remittances: Migration driven local-level forms of cultural diffusion. International Migration Review, 32(4), 926–948.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Levitt, P., & Jaworsky, B. N. (2007). Transnational migration studies: Past developments and future trends. Annual Review of Sociology, 33(1), 129–156.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Levitt, P., & Lamba-Nieves, D. (2011). Social remittances revisited. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(1), 1–22.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Merkel, W. (2004). Embedded and defective democracies. Democratization, 11(5), 33–58.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Newland, K., Agunias, D. R., & Terrazas, A. (2008). Learning by doing: Experiences of circular migration. Washington, DC: Migration Policy Institute (MPI).

    Google Scholar 

  • Parreñas, R. S. (2006). Children of global migration. Transnational families and gendered woes. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pérez-Armendáriz, C., & Crow, D. (2010). Do migrants remit democracy? International migration and political beliefs and behaviour in Mexico. Comparative Political Studies, 43(1), 119–148.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Piper, N. (2009). Temporary migration and political remittances: The role of organisational networks in the transnationalisation of human rights. European Journal of East Asian Studies, 8(2), 215–243.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Piper, N., & Rother, S. (2011). Transnational inequalities, transnational responses: The politicization of migrant rights in Asia. In B. Rehbein (Ed.), Globalization and inequality in emerging societies (pp. 235–255). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rodriguez, R. M. (2010). Migrants for export. How the Philippine state brokers labour to the world. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rojas, H. S. (2005). Overseas absentee voting. The Philippine experience. Quezon City: Centre for Migrant Advocacy.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rother, S. (2009a). Changed in migration? Philippine return migrants and (un)-democratic remittances. European Journal of East Asian Studies, 8(2), 245–274.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rother, S. (2009b). Graswurzel Global: Der Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB) in Hongkong. In U. Hoering, O. Pye, W. Schaffar, & C. Wichterich (Eds.), Globalisierung bringt Bewegung. Lokale Kämpfe und transnationale Vernetzungen (pp. 136–151). Münster: Verlag Westfälisches Dampfboot.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rother, S. (2009c). Transnational political spaces: Political activism of Philippine labour migrants in Hong Kong. In J. V. Tigno (Ed.), Changing dynamics in Filipino overseas migration: Nationalism, transnationalism, regionalism and the state (pp. 109–140). Quezon City: Philippine Migration Research Network and Philippine Social Science Council Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rother, S. (2010). Inseln der Überzeugung nicht in Sicht: Der Nationalstaat, NGOs und die globale Governance von Migration. ZPol Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 20(3–4), 409–439.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Rüland, J., Kessler, C., & Rother, S. (2009). Democratization through international migration? Explorative thoughts on a novel research agenda. European Journal of East Asian Studies, 8(2), 161–179.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Sim, A. (2009). Women versus the state: Organizing resistance and contesting exploitation in Indonesian labour migration to Hong Kong. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 18(1), 47–75.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Skeldon, R. (2010). Managing migration for development: Is circular migration the answer? The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations, XI(Winter/Spring), 21–33.

    Google Scholar 

  • Solomon, M. S. (2009). State-led migration, democratic legitimacy, and deterritorialization: The Philippines’ labour export model. European Journal of East Asian Studies, 8(2), 275–300.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Strang, D., & Soule, S. A. (1998). Diffusion in organizations and social movements: From hybrid corn to poison pills. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 265–290.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Tigno, J. V. (2004). Governance and public policy making in the Philippines: RA 8042 and deregulating the overseas employment sector. Philippine Political Science Journal, 48(25), 1–24.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Triandafyllidou, A. (2010). Towards a better understanding of circular migration. METOIKOS concept paper. Florence: European University Institute.

    Google Scholar 

  • Um, K. (2007). Political remittance: Cambodian diasporas in conflict and post conflict. In H. Smith & P. Stares (Eds.), Diasporas in conflict. Peace-makers or peace-wreckers? (pp. 253–279). Tokyo: United Nations University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • van Amersfoort, H. (2004). Gabriel Sheffer and the Diaspora experience. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational studies, 13(2/3), 359–373.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Venturini, A. (2008). Circular migration as an employment strategy for Mediterranean countries (CARIM Analytic and Synthetic Notes, CARIM-AS 2008/39). http://cadmus.eui.eu/bitstream/handle/1814/8390/CARIM_AS%26N_2008_39.pdf?sequence=1. Accessed 16 June 2012.

  • Vertovec, S. (2007). Circular migration: The way forward in global policy? (IMI Working Papers, Vol. 4). Oxford: International Migration Institute (IMI).

    Google Scholar 

  • Waever, O., Buzan, B., Kelstrup, M., Lemaitre, P., et al. (Eds.). (1993). Identity, migration and the new security agenda in Europe. London: Pinter.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wee, V., & Sim, A. (2003). Transnational labour networks in female labour migration: Mediating between southeast Asian women workers and international labour markets (IMI Working Papers, Vol. 49). Hong Kong: Southeast Asia Research Centre.

    Google Scholar 

  • Welzel, C., & Inglehart, R. (2008). The role of ordinary people in democratization. Journal of Democracy, 19(1), 126–140.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Wickramasekara, P. (2011). Circular migration: A triple win or a dead end (GURN Discussion Paper, 15). Global Union Research Network (GURN).

    Google Scholar 

  • Wise, R. D., Covarrubias, H. M., & Puentes, R. (2010). Reframing the debate on migration, development and human rights: Fundamental elements. International Network on Migration and Development (INMD). http://rimd.reduaz.mx/documentos_miembros/ReframingtheDebate.pdf. Accessed 17 Feb 2011.

  • World Bank. (2010). Migration and remittances factbook 2011 (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: World Bank.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  • Zelinsky, W. (1971). The hypothesis of the mobility transition. Geographical Review of Japan Series, 61(2), 219–249.

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stefan Rother .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2016 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Rother, S. (2016). Democracy on the Move?. In: Solé, C., Parella, S., Martí, T., Nita, S. (eds) Impact of Circular Migration on Human, Political and Civil Rights. United Nations University Series on Regionalism, vol 12. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28896-3_10

Download citation