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Migration and Migration History
The field of Migration History looks at both ends of human mobility and the complex and diverse processes of migration. In her article Barbara Lüthi defines human migration, which can be either international or internal, and gives a short overview of the history of migration in the 20th century. After a discussion of the approaches and perspectives on the research field Lüthi closes with an examination of the current topics in Migration History: refugees and so-called illegal migrants.
Migration and Migration History

by Barbara Lüthi

A Terminological Approach

Migration and mobility have been a distinctive feature of human history, and human history is the history of human mobility. Human beings have crossed cultural and political borders as well as natural obstacles in the process.[1] The multifarious and heterogeneous practices of mobility shaping modern migration at least since the Atlantic slave trade and the industrialization in England and other parts of Europe have been dominated by the state, empire, and capital. Today migration is widely seen as an international or global phenomenon, but that has not always been the case. For a long time migration research has been – and often still is – shaped by “the point of view of the native” and a specific form of “methodological nationalism” which both have deeply influenced theoretical frameworks, research projects, and a general understanding of migration up to the present.[2] Only in recent decades more emphasize has been put on the epistemologies of migration. On the one hand this includes the types of knowledge being produced under the banner of “migration” (policy reports, scholarly contributions, institutional surveys, etc.) as well as by the epistemic communities dealing with migration issues (academics, non-/governmental institutions, border enforcement apparatuses etc.). On the other hand this accounts for the “turbulence of migration practices,” the contested politics migrants encounter and challenge, the varied social geographies of migrant experiences, and the processes of becoming a migrant and/or being labeled as such.[3] The discursive realm of what we call “migration” is much more ambiguous than obvious regulatory practices such as passports, border control, detention, and deportation make us believe.[4] Therefore, scholars need to direct critical attention to the increasing prominence of migrations as key figures for apprehending culture and society in the present, not least by understanding the contours and shifts, continuities and disjunctures of migration policies and experiences in the past.[5]

Moving away from the traditional nation-based dichotomy of emigration - immigration, the less specific term migration allows for many possible trajectories, time spans, directions and destinations. It can be temporary or long-term, voluntary or forced. It can occur in stages or in cycles, and can be mono-directional or more varied. Generally speaking, however, human migration can be defined as crossing the boundary of a political or administrative unit for a certain minimum period.[6] More specifically, international migration means crossing the frontiers that separate one country from another, whereas internal migration refers to a move from one administrative area (a province, district or municipality) to another within the same country. Some scholars argue that internal and international migrations are part of the same process, and should be analyzed together. With respect to physical movement, the term mobility encompasses a broader range of people – migrants as well as tourists, business people, the armed forces, etc.[7]

Migration history historicizes the agency and motives of migrants who, “within their capabilities, negotiate societal options and constraints in pursuit of life-plans.”[8] It also looks at both ends of human mobility and at the process of migration. Whether it be from a macro-regional perspective or at the micro-level, migration history investigates the following areas: the reasons and conditions under which people leave the specific social, legal and economic setting of their place of departure, coupled with the impact of out-migration on families and societies; the dimensions and patterns of movement through space and time (circular, seasonal or definite); the migrants’ process of acceptance into or exclusion from their host societies, coupled with their impact on the host countries, regions or localities; the interconnections between the places of departure and arrival; and the power that states have exercised over migrations and the technologies they have used to manage migrants. Migration historians also study the migrants’ agency in migrational processes (e.g. motivations, networks, impact on structures such as family and state) within specific structural constraints.[9]

Global migrational movements throughout the twentieth century cannot be understood without their links to other mass migrations within and across borders or overseas, or to the inter- and intraregional flow of labor involved in processes of urbanization, industrialization and decolonization.[10] Relevant here is the entire spectrum of migration processes within a specific area, including the interactions between all identifiable patterns of migration and their specific socio-economic, demographic and political placement. Also to be considered here is the transport infrastructure[11] and communication technologies as well as the rise of nation-states and their heightened concern for regulating human mobility. As the historian Dirk Hoerder observed of the twentieth century, “scholarship has focused on labor migration systems before 1914, refugee generations in the first half of the 20th century, the impact of decolonization in the second postwar era, and new migration systems emerging since 1960.”[12] Accordingly, scholars need to distinguish between the various forms and geographies of mobility.

“Migration is not a Crime,” April 2009 Lünen, Germany, Foto: mkorsakov. [ Flickr] ([ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0])
“Migration is not a Crime,” April 2009 Lünen, Germany, Foto: mkorsakov. Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A Short History of Migration in the Twentieth Century

Even a highly selective picture of human migration during the twentieth century reveals its complexity and diversity.[13] Parallel to disintegration of the multi-ethnic Habsburg, Ottoman, and Romanov empires, nation-states reached their apogee in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During the first half of the twentieth century the Balkan Wars and the First and Second World Wars triggered refugee movements in unforeseen numbers. Whereas World War I itself generated millions of refugees, the new postwar nation-states introduced programs of “unmixing” peoples or “ethnic cleansing.”[14] Under the nation-state regimes, as states successfully usurped the “monopoly of the legitimate means of movement,” and with the introduction of citizenship and identity documentation, entry regulations became more restrictive and demands for military service and loyalty to the nation increased.[15]

By the end of World War I, most states of the North Atlantic world no longer required additional industrial workers, thus ending the prevalence of labor migrants across the globe; wars and national expansion were themselves destroying the lives of millions of people. For example, after 1900 Japan launched an aggressive invasion into Korea, followed by Manchuria, China, and finally into much of east and Southeast Asia. By the late 1930s millions of Chinese refugees had fled the advancing armies. During the same time period the Nazi ideology – which had saturated not only Germany’s state policies but those of their collaborators throughout Europe – led to the deportation of German and European Jews, Gypsies, political opponents, “alien enemies,” homosexuals and many others to labor and concentration camps. In turn, the wars of Jewish refugees in Palestine with their neighboring Arab states caused resident Palestinians to flee. In many of these wars, colonial laborers were often used to support the war efforts. Forced migration was not only an effect of wars but also harsh labor regimentation following the seizure of power in the Soviet Union under Stalin, particularly in the 1930s.[16] Following the coerced collectivization of agriculture there was a collapse in production that led to famine-induced mass migrations.

Whereas the interwar period and the Second World War itself were marked by the mobility of millions of “displaced persons,” refugees and people fleeing from the new communist regimes in central and Eastern Europe, another of its hallmarks was colonization and those empires, which served as a foundation for contemporary global migration. After the end of World War II, decolonization and unequal global terms of trade imposed on the southern hemisphere by the “North” shifted refugee and labor migrations to the “South.” The Western countries, which had formerly sent their people abroad, now became the destination of often desperately poor migrants, and, to date, highly militarized border controls have mostly proven ineffective; the Western imperialist states had missed the opportunity to negotiate an end to colonialism.[17] Wars of independence were begun by peoples in the colonies of Asia as well as North and sub-Saharan Africa. By the 1960s, the countries of Britain, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium were forced to abandon most of their colonies and – mainly as a consequence of this decolonization – major refugee populations were spawned in Africa.

In the 1970s, as a result of the Vietnam War and conflicts elsewhere in Indochina, the geographical focus of these refugee movements shifted to Southern and Southeastern Asia.[18] In addition to the refugee movements induced by decolonization, three major types of migration ensued:[19] “reverse migrations” that brought colonizers and their personnel back home, “displacement migrations” as a result of the reordering of societies within the newly independent states, and income-generating labor migrations abroad to compensate for the disruptions in the daily lives of the people and the lack of long-term prospects in the newly independent states. An emerging North-South divide (“global apartheid”), institutionalized through unequal terms of trades that disadvantaged the South, served to continue earlier forms of more direct exploitation and caused continuing migrations. Ever more people – with or without official documents – attempted to reach the wealthy job-providing North.

Several overlapping macro-regional migration systems emerged after World War II,[20] two South-North systems in Europe and North America supplementing the Atlantic migration system. In the 1950s and 1960s, postwar reconstruction and economic growth first created a demand for labor from Southern to Western and Northern Europe, then expanding into North Africa. The North American labor market and the U.S. capital investments transforming their societies attracted Mexican and other Latin American and Caribbean migrants.

Regional migration systems also developed in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Supported by U.S. administrations, right-wing governments triggered large refugee movements in certain Latin American countries. Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina have become magnets for migrant groups during different time periods, and political refugees from the former military dictatorships are also, in part, returning to their former countries.

In Asia the fast-growing economies of South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia formed a new migration system. Pursuing its racist policies, Japan did not admit immigrants despite its demand for labor, and its Korean laboring population (from colonial times) experienced continuous discrimination. After the end of colonial rule, Chinese diasporas in Southeast Asia were often singled out as scapegoats during times of economic crisis; hundreds of thousands were forced to flee.

By contrast, the intra-Asian system was supplemented by a new phase of the Pacific migration system, which evolved after the end of the race-based exclusion in North America. Migrants from China, India, the Philippines and Southeast Asia moved mainly to the U.S. and Canada. The Persian Gulf region attracted experts from the Western world as well as male labor from the Maghreb and the Indian Ocean region, whereas female domestic labor was specifically recruited from Asian societies.

Sub-Saharan Africa developed another system in temporarily expanding economies such as Kenya, Somalia and – since the end of Apartheid – South Africa. But obstacles in development due to dysfunctional economies as well as disruptive World Bank-imposed cuts in social services triggered internal rural-urban moves as well as out-migration to former colonizer countries.

Finally, socialist Eastern Bloc countries have shown singular migration patterns. Collectivization, uneven rural-urban development, economic growth in Hungary and Yugoslavia and in parts of the USSR as well as investments in Southern Siberia resulted in interregional and interstate mobility. A ban on emigration separated this macro-region from all other migration regions. Only with collapse of the system in 1989 have new east-to-west migrations occurred, and centers such as Moscow and Prague have attracted internal, Chinese and Western migrants.

At the turn of the twenty-first century, religious fundamentalism, increasing xenophobia in many countries, and so-called homeland security barriers are threatening the migrants’ freedom of movement. At the same time, the demand for migrant labor (increasingly also for domestic work or old-age care in affluent countries) is growing, just as migrants themselves are desperately searching for entry into societies that permit sustainable lives. Research data indicate growing disparities between the northern and southern hemispheres due to the imposition of tariff barriers and unequal terms of trade by the powerful North. Thus, the precondition for south-to-north migrations is being fortified by the very policies of those countries unwilling to admit more migrants.

Conceptualizing Migration: Approaches and Perspectives

Although immigrant and ethnic history accounted for most of the early migration history in North America and Australia, migration received little attention from scholars before the twentieth century. By the end of the century, scholars had shifted their focus from a state-centered framework to analyzing human agency, emphasizing differences in migration according to gender, race, class, age and other categories. During the past decade, migration has increasingly developed into a subject of interdisciplinary approaches, with practitioners of each involved discipline making contributions to the field.[21] Especially since the 1990s, new paradigms and approaches have gained momentum, tackling specific terminological inaccuracies and a wide range of misconceptions that have distorted scholarship in migration studies.

First of all, scholars have brought forth new literature that looks beyond the normative model of “global” migration – one that focuses solely on European migration and the Western world – to focus on the rich and complex migration patterns and circulations of the entire modern (and premodern) world. The reductionist “push”-“pull”/modernization theory has also been nuanced. A second source of distortion was the long-standing principle of “methodological nationalism,” which depicted migration as a linear process and relied on the nation-based idea of “emigration”-“immigration” and notions of “uprootedness.”[22] Recognition of the specious nature of this assumption has led to an epistemic move towards a more comprehensive “systems approach” and the study of “transnational communities.” Finally, there has been a closer intersection of the history of knowledge and migration history. Migration as a process not only has received heightened attention since the end of the 19th century by state and non-state actors in producing knowledge about migrants, but it also involves the migrants themselves “as producers, conveyors, and translators of knowledge.”[23]

Beyond Europe

Eurocentrism – or Atlantocentrism – has traditionally dominated mainstream migration research in Europe and the Americas, with migrational movements in other regions studied largely as aspects of European expansion. One reason for this limited perspective so far was the segmented nature of the field of migration history. Scholars on Africa, Asia and Oceania often did not explicitly position their work within the paradigm of migration studies; rather, they saw themselves as contributing to specific scholarly debates on topics such as slavery, world systems and imperialism. Accordingly, this scholarship often went unnoticed by migration historians.[24]

Critiques of this imbalance often came from outsiders to the field – for example, from Patrick Manning, a scholar of world history and African migrations, or Adam McKeown, a specialist in Chinese migrations. In his innovative article on “Global Migration, 1846-1940,” McKeown fundamentally questioned the accepted belief that the mass migration in the Atlantic world during that period was unique in nature and volume.[25] Rather, by using a macro approach, he redirected the reader’s attention to two other major migration systems in Northern and Southeast Asia between the mid-nineteenth century and the outbreak of World War II. Furthermore, he argued that the Asian migrants moved for the same reasons and under similar circumstances, reacting to economic stimuli and moving to areas with a high demand for labor. He also showed that all three migration systems were integrated in the same global economy.[26]

McKeown belongs to a cohort of scholars who reject Eurocentrism and Atlantocentrism.[27] “Provincializing Europe” (Dipesh Chakrabarty) and the Atlantic not only allows one to include other regions but also challenges widely shared assumptions, e.g. regarding “free” and “unfree” labor dividing the “West and the rest,” static and mobile societies, and the impact of race on mobility. In a similar vein, postcolonial theories of migration have argued that the postcolonial should also be considered in the light of historical dislocation and migrancy. Like no other, the figure of the migrant raises questions on national and regional identity, unity, and cohesion. Immigration and the rise of diasporic communities address issues of hybridity, cultural difference and cultural translation, multiculturalism, transnationalism, and identity politics.[28] At the heart of postcolonial theory is also the need to acknowledge alterity, rather than repudiate it.[29]

Systems Approach

Compared to many other methodological-theoretical frameworks – such as the network theory, the neoclassical economic approaches or the world systems theory as well as approaches focused on state action and state borders[30] – the “systems approach” allows for “comprehensive analyses of the structures, institutions, and discursive frames of the societies of origin and of arrival, in particular local or regional variants,” including factors such as industrialization, gender roles, family economies, or demographic details.[31] The systems approach also focuses on the complexity of migrants’ agency as well as looking at their trajectories between societies. As historians Dirk Hoerder and Christiane Harzig argue, its comprehensive theoretical-methodological framework incorporates “causational and incidental factors and outcomes as well multiple rationalities.”[32]

The questions guiding such an approach can be manifold: In what ways did family, communities and cultural practices inform the decision-making process? What human or social capital and what traditions of both short-distance and long-distance migrations were available to migrants before and after departing? As journeys became ever more time-compressed through rail, sea and air travel, how did this shape the migrants’ “mental-geographical maps” (Harzig/Hoerder)? How do host societies’ notions of assimilation, acculturation or integration shape the newcomers’ opportunities?[33] How do migrants react to economic or social discrimination? How did diasporic cultures and mentalities – non-contiguous cultural groups linked through real or imagined bonds across regional or global spaces – historically form and imagine themselves? And how did they connect and develop cultural identities?[34]

These questions are only a small sampling of questions addressed by the systems approach. One of this approach’s strengths is its focus on “continuing transcultural linkages” and the interconnectedness of particular societies and states through transborder migration, capital flow, and ideas.[35] Whereas any attempt at an all-encompassing theory may be futile – for example, the micro and the macro not being easily united in a single approach – the strength of the systems approach is that neither does it deny the importance of structural constraints on individual choices nor does it downplay the agency of individuals and families.

Transnational/Transcultural Lives

Theories of cultural interaction, neoclassical economic approaches, approaches to migrants’ agency, and the more comprehensive systems approach are all examples of how diverse disciplines have dealt with migratory movements. Objects of inquiry and theory-building are closely linked to the levels and units of analysis as well as to matters of data and methodology.[36] In migration studies, these can vary both within and between disciplines. Very generally speaking, for example, whereas theorizing in history and anthropology mainly takes place at a micro or meso-level, and whereas these disciplines are concerned with individuals, households or groups, political scientists and demographers are more often interested in the macro level, being concerned with populations, states and the political and international systems. Despite these divergences, several convergences have led to an interchange among the disciplines. For example, the comparative method has been applied in migration research across the entire spectrum of social-science disciplines,[37] and one of the dominant paradigms in migration theory was the assimilation model put forward in the 1920s by Robert E. Park and his colleagues of the Chicago School of Sociology, it remaining salient well into the 1970s.[38] Since the 1980s, this concept has given way to new ones such as the more complex concept of immigrant incorporation.[39]

Another concept, which gained currency in migration studies and global history in the 1990s, was transnationalism. First formulated by anthropologists, it has had an impact on migration research in several disciplines. Challenges to nation-state homogeneity have existed in various regions since the 1910s, e.g. by intellectuals such as Randolph S. Bourne, Horace Kallen or Fernando Ortiz Fernández. But the concept gained new relevance within migration studies through publication of the anthropologists – Nina Glick Schiller, Linda Basch, and Cristina Blanc-Szanton – influential book “Towards a Transnational Perspective on Migration” (1992), which defined transnational migration as the activities of migrant groups whose social relations connected two or more countries. The authors’ aim was to overcome the binary model of emigration and immigration in order to observe the border-crossing practices of migrants.[40]

Transnational migrants lead a “double life:” They often speak more than one language, move between different cultures, have emotional ties to two or more cultural spaces, and follow political, economic or cultural interests that span more than one nation.[41] Transnational processes are understood as signs of the global era; though transnational practices and flows may not be “new” per se, their intensification under the particular conditions of late modernity (travel means, communication technologies, the economic nexus of remittances) make them significant social forces.[42]

There have been at least three critical questions addressed regarding the concept of transnationalism.[43] First, the term transnationalism has been used for a variety of phenomena, ranging from long-term migrant groups to tourists and travelers. This ambiguity indicates a need for more precise definitions. Likewise, the equation of transnational practices with the broad term “transnationalism” begs the question of whether transnationalism connotes a specific “way of life” or implies an ideological dimension (comparable to other “isms”).

Second, although the term “transnational” does not completely deny the importance of the nation-state, national territory, national identities and national loyalties, it does anticipate their diminishing significance.[44] The response has been a critical revision of the long-standing tradition of methodological nationalism within the social sciences and humanities. Yet recent historical research has questioned this trend by emphasizing the power of nation-states to shape and delimit transnational migration through restrictive immigration policies and border controls, especially since World War I.[45]

Third, a similar critique has been voiced against the common view of transnational migrants as “nomadic subjects” and mobility theorized in terms of flows in a global era. In reality the image of unfettered transnational biographies, of lives lived in “in-between spaces” (Homi K. Bhabha), excludes the majority of migrants: Transnational lives are dependent on the legal status of people in transit. Global connectivity is indeed promoting international mobility; yet this is still largely the privilege of wealthy people from the West, in particular the northern industrialized countries, and certain Asian ones as well.[46] Moreover, attention must also be directed towards processes of mobility in terms of closure, containment, blockage and friction.[47]

Further empirical research is needed, firstly, with respect to transnationalism’s temporal aspects: Is transnationalism a single-generation phenomenon or are transnational ties reproduced in the second generation as well? When and why do these phenomena disappear again? How do race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, religion and nationalism play out in transnational contexts?[48] Also, from the migrants’ perspective, regional or local identifications may be more important, meaning “transregionalism” or “translocalism” may be equally valuable as research terms. Additionally, “transculturalism” denotes the competence to live in different cultures and, accordingly, to create a transcultural space which permits complex and multi-directional moves and linkages between different spaces, none of which can leave cultures unchanged.[49] And finally, for contemporary history it is worthwhile asking how and what imaginary and virtual spaces are formed through new technologies, such as the internet and cell phones, and how these shape the time-sensitive relationships of transnational migrants.[50]

The Power of Knowledge Production: Migration Regimes, Migrant Actors

Migration as a process – by its very nature – requires the active construction, interpretation, and appropriation of knowledge by a variety of historical actors. Three types of knowledge can be distinguished: knowledge about or for migrants produced by state institutions, international organisations, scholars, and politicians; knowledge produced and carried by migrants; and migrating knowledge.[51] Scholars need to consider what information was available about or for migrants but just as well what they chose to embrace or discount.

On the one hand, the state as well as national and international organisations, migration programmes,[52] and academic actors have been key actors in shaping the migration regime by producing knowledge about migration and migrants. The (biopolitical) management of populations has also embraced migration as a field in which different ideologies, discourses or institutions, and practices work as an assemblage or regulation. Yet, this management of populations has certain limitations. The different universes are populated by very different actors who have different means, aptitudes, and competences as well as different strategies and techniques. Nevertheless, these diverse actors are producing endless reports and statistics, which frame migration and reduce migrants to endless numbers and data. They also develop recommendations on how migration should be governed and invent a myriad of labels.[53]

It is important to investigate how categories of migration are being constructed and deconstructed, and to look at the labelling and categorisation of migrants by asking how the legal and political use of distinct terms has evolved throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century and thereby had significant influence on the production of knowledge and representation of migration. In this context, scholars have spoken of a “migrantization” of public debates, which are reflected in a will to “know” the migrant or refugee Other, resulting in numerous ways to produce knowledge. Accordingly, historians should engage in an “epistemological destabilizing” and theoretical questioning of the very means and function of certain key concepts and categories over time such as “refugee,” “migrant,” “mobility,” and so forth.[54] Furthermore, a more general “de-migrantization” of migration studies away from a “migrantology” should go hand in hand with a “migrantization” of the studies of society by broadening the empirical and geographical horizons and analyzing the social conditions and conflicts, in which migration has become active as a driving force.[55]

On the other hand, there has been a trend to focus on migrant knowledge and agency. In a world of “over-regulation” of migratory movements and heated public debates, in which the topic of migration seems overtly “over-politicized,” the perspective on migrants and migrant organizations often gets lost. In this context, there has been a research trend towards an actor-centered approach of how migrants produce, transform and translate knowledge.[56] Despite the surge of knowledge about migrants, we know little about migrant practices and agency, or how knowledge was produced, used, and mediated by the migrants themselves. The invisibility and often speechlessness of migrants does not relate to their passivity in real life. How did migrant actors carry, abandon, translate, transform, validate or delegitimize concrete figurations and forms of knowledge during and after the process of migration, the historians Simone Lässig and Swen Steinberg ask?

The connection between migration history and the history of knowledge has opened up new perspectives, for example, asking about the connections between knowledge and experience, knowledge and cultural capital, or knowledge and resilience.[57] Likewise, what are the contours of power, agency, and subjectivity in imaginaries of transnational mobility and the intersecting social categories those visions both reify and dissolve? People on travels rely on imaginaries reaching “from the most spectacular fantasies to the most mundane reveries,” to shape identities of themselves and others.[58] In this context, knowledge includes such rooted in experience and created through cultural practices. And despite the increasingly sophisticated and complex nature of the management of migration by diverse state and non-state actors, the broad array of hopes, desires and aspirations that animate the migrants’ projects to move are “always in excess of their regulation by governmental regimes”[59]. Local knowledge, the intersection of different fields of knowledge, the importance of language and cultural translation, of affects, emotions and desires as well as the role of transmigrants in the history of knowledge are some important factors concerning approaches that take the subjectivities of migrants more serious.[60]

Migration in Contemporary History: Topics and Trends

Both refugees and so-called “illegal” migrants have traditionally been deeply embedded in the (global) rhetorics of “crisis.” Both have played important roles throughout the twentieth century and will remain relevant for the foreseeable future. Historians (and people in general) need to be attentive to the rhetoric of “crisis” and should question whether the label can serve to clarify anything. As anthropologist Janet Roitman cautions, “through the term ‘crisis,’ the singularity of events is abstracted by a generic logic, making crisis a term that seems self-explanatory.”[61] The rhetoric of a migration “crisis,” not only in Europe, makes it imperative for historians and social scientist to reflect on the foundational concepts of our disciplines in addressing the representation of others as they are recognized in the norms of cultural citizenship and belonging.[62] The issues of refugees and undocumented people are closely related to topics such as borders/border regimes, citizenship, race and gender and other important topics. These inevitably selective themes and their underlying debates are briefly outlined below.


There is nothing new about the phenomenon of people being forced to leave their homelands.[63] However, the legal concept of “refugee” and its employment as an object of academic research is more recent and constitutes an important aspect of contemporary migration. The 1951 United Nations Geneva Convention defined a refugee as any individual who, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion,” had crossed an international boundary to seek protection.[64] The signatories of the Geneva Convention, which also included numerous NGO’s, obliged themselves to provide emergence relief, to facilitate refugees access to the labor market, to accept their educational achievement and to render them with equal status for social benefits.[65]

Since the adoption of that definition, the distribution of refugees has attained a global scope. The twentieth-century nation-state system was highly effective at generating refugees, with Europe taking the lead in the first half of the century, post-colonial Africa and Asia in the second. The refugee convention was originally defined for those who had fled Nazi persecution in Germany and occupied Europe, and therefore was limited to Europe – despite massive refugee movements in other parts of the world. From the 1960s on, as a result of decolonization and wars, new refugee populations arose mainly in the developing nations of Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Central America. As migration expert Khalid Koser reminds us, what had begun “as a largely European problem at the end of the Second World War had become a truly global phenomenon, with immense complexities.”[66] Accordingly, there is a growing body of postcolonial literature that covers the experience of refugees across the postcolonial world after World War II.[67]

The 1990s saw the return of refugee crises to developed countries, with groups originating in such regions as Bosnia, Kosovo and the former Soviet Union sharing the plight of those in Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor. But despite the myth of “asylum invasion” in Western Europe, the majority of refugees are currently found in the southern hemisphere, particularly Africa. The bulk of the burden of supporting them therefore still falls upon the poorest parts of the world.

Despite a virtually uncontested definition of refugee status in the aftermath of World War II, more recent discord as to the precise criteria for that status has sparked considerable scholarly debate. To begin with, neither the Geneva Convention of 1951 nor its 1967 protocol specifically addresses the current realities of refugees.[68] Anthropologist Liisa Malkki has argued that the term “refugee” does not constitute a naturally self-delineating domain of knowledge: Forced population movements have extremely diverse historical and political causes and involve people who – while all displaced – find themselves in qualitatively different predicaments.[69] Whereas the Convention focuses on state persecution, today’s refugees more often flee the general insecurity of conflict rather than a specific persecution.[70] And while economic inequalities generate far more refugees than political-ideological conflict, economic migrants do not fit the Convention’s criteria for refugee status. Furthermore, the Convention does not explicitly accept such conditions as sexuality-based persecution or ecological deterioration as flight-inducing factors.[71] Finally, the Convention is based on the political theory of sovereign states and does not cover persons displaced internally, for example, through civil wars.

Still, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) currently outnumber those qualifying for UN protection. Unprotected by international agreements, they are often even more vulnerable than cross-border refugees. Furthermore, the lines between voluntary and involuntary flight are often vague. Motives for flight can be a mix of economic and political forces, as when an economic collapse follows a coup d’état. In some cases, direct violence is involved; in others not. Refugee studies have criticized refugee agencies for protecting those who depart reactively, whereas those who behave proactively under deteriorating circumstances remain unprotected.

With this principle in mind, the power of bureaucratic documentation to make social distinctions and classify human beings according to established criteria touches on an important aspect of modern migration policy. Also, the treatment and reception of refugees in countries is less dependent on their specific (individual or group) history than on the attitude of the host country and their political elites.[72] Since the 1980s, the national asylum procedures in Europe have become more complex and the possibilities for international refugee protection (as well as labor migration) from the less developed countries have been seriously undermined by ever more restrictive laws and categorizations designed to disqualify claimants from international protection in most parts of the “global north.”

In his widely cited articles on “Labelling Refugees” (1991, 2007), Roger Zetter reminds us that examining how labels are chosen and applied to those migrating can explain how certain bureaucratic, political and other interests and procedures are crucial determinants in the definition of labels such as “refugee,” “forced migrants,” or “unreturnable detainees.”[73] Labels, he contends, are “the tangible representation of policies and programs, in which labels are not only formed but are then also transformed by bureaucratic processes which institutionalize and differentiate categories of eligibility and entitlements.”[74]

Central to Zetter’s thesis is the examination of the powerful institutional contexts involved and the discourses through which the category “refugee” is construed and public policy shaped.[75] With respect to historical research, this entails examining not only the agency, settings and motivations of refugees for leaving a country but also the practices of states and other actors as they attempt to manage refugees through specific processes of “labelling.” Special attention must be focused on the sometimes deliberate “fractioning” and conflation of such labels in the interests of national and supra-national actors or of the securitization of migration.

In order to move beyond the conventional definition of “refugees,” we need to analyze the multiple actors, settings and reasons influencing displacement in historical narratives. This may show that recent increases in the number of refugee groups have been accompanied by similar increases in the complexity of the causes, dynamics and effects of global refugee flows. As can be witnessed in the recent proliferation of categories to describe the diverse global phenomena of forced displacement, “refugeeness” involves much more than a single identity position but includes the political refugee, the environmental refugee, the internally displaced person, and a host of others. Faced with this plethora of human-displacement categories, current conditions strongly suggest that the answer to “who is a refugee” must necessarily be plural, ambiguous, and most of all historical.[76]

With respect to refugee migration, though, the historian Peter Gatrell has argued that questions should be asked not only about the circumstances of displacement, or the practices of states and non-governmental agencies involved, but also “about the complex relationship between those who observe and those who experience displacement.”[77] Historians’ perspectives both depend upon and determine their source material: Is one writing with regard to the history of the state or rather from a refugee-centered perspective? Moreover, since refugee situations are very much the product of power imbalances, the “refugee voice” is unlikely to even be heard, let alone recorded. Liisa Malkki has pointed out that refugees are generally the objects rather than the subjects and sources of knowledge.[78] In researching contemporary refugeeness, oral history may provide a helpful tool in creating new sources and in gleaning new insights. This may also reveal refugees’ “capacity for agency against all odds.”[79]

Evoking some response in scholarly studies of the past decade have been calls to historicize “refugeeness” and the diversity of refugee experiences and strategies as well as the vast array of discursive and institutional fields within which such labels as “the refugee” are being constructed.[80] The studies of refugees and displacement may well offer fresh insights into the concepts of culture and community as bounded and territorialized units.

For example, with the emerging rhetoric of the “refugee crisis”[81] in and beyond Europe taking on full force in 2015, politicians internationally have called on European leaders to respond to the migration and refugee crisis in the Mediterranean by “stopping the boats” in order to prevent further deaths. This suggestion resonated with the European Union Commission’s newly articulated commitment to both enhancing border security and saving lives. This points to the increasing entanglement of securitization and humanitarianism in the context of transnational border control and migration management. One can trace the global phenomenon of humanitarian border security alongside a series of spatial dislocations and temporal deferrals of “the border” in European contexts and far beyond. While discourses of humanitarian borders operate according to a purportedly universal and therefore borderless logic of “saving lives”, the subjectivity of the “irregular” migrant in need of rescue is one that is produced as spatially and temporally exceptional and therefore knowable, governable and “bordered.”[82] The human catastrophes at sea have transformed maritime borders of Europe into what has been called a “deathscape” in the context of increasingly militarized and securitized borders.[83] In this context, new critical research has appeared in trying to address the complexity of the “refugee problem:”

First, the question evolved, why so many Europeans are actually invoking the image of a “refugee crisis?” Is it because people are moving to Europe in large numbers? This would seem almost hypocritical regarding the fact that Europe has had a long history of voluntary and coerced movements out of Europe to other parts of the world throughout the 19th and 20th century (colonialism, World War I and WWW II). For example, the postwar period in Europe is marked not only by the mobility of millions of “displaced persons”, refugees and people fleeing from the new communist regimes in East Central Europe; it is likewise the histories of colonization and empires, which evolved as one of the foundations of contemporary global migration. As Dirk Hoerder and Christiane Harzig argue, the “’Western’ countries, which had sent migrants – often armed – out to all other parts of the word, now became the destination of unarmed, often desperately poor migrants.”[84]

Second, scholars have pointed to the complexity of the evolving border regimes with relation to Europe during the past century. As political scientist William Walters encouraged to “de-naturalize” the border, border regimes can be studied through a constructivist approach not only concerning the governmental logics but also the production of borders from and with a perspective of migration.[85] Furthermore, scholars have pointed to the heterogeneous and contradictory border regimes and the multidimensionality of borders in and reaching beyond Europe:[86] “Sovereign power is manifested through the complex and contradictory formations of diverse European authorities and jurisdictions – notably including not only the supranational state formation of the EU and the various nation-states involved, whether EU members or not […], as well as an array of non-state actors, from private capitalist enterprises to ‘smuggling’ networks to humanitarian agencies.” The crisis therefore reflects “a dispute over the most effective and efficient tactics of bordering.”[87]

Third, the events in the Mediterranean have once more illustrated the dilemma and contradictions of the “global border regime:” The aim of state power and border patrols aimed at border control are reactions to “a prior fact – the mass mobility of human beings on the move” on a global scale. The two key figures – the autonomy of migration and the tactics of bordering – are central to and mutually constitutive of the mostly antagonistic drama of the global border regime with its roots in the 19th and beginning of 20th century. On the one hand, the concept of the “autonomy of migration” as a heuristic model allows to theorize and investigate border regimes from the perspective of migration and the political struggles and mobilities implicated by it without romanticizing migration.[88] It stresses the “unpredictability of migration, a stubbornness, an inherent recalcitrance that subverts, mocks, or overcomes attempts at (border) control and the figuration of ‘the migrant’ in policy” and moves away from portraying migrant subjects as primarily vulnerable and victims.[89] On the other hand, the development of border regimes and naturalization of borders throughout the world have been effective in creating “a spatial difference between one or another state’s formation putative inside and outside, constructing the very profoundly consequential difference between the presumably proper subjects of a state’s authority and those mobile human beings variously branded as ‘aliens,’ ‘foreigners,’ and indeed ‘migrants.’”[90]

Didier Bigo has delineated three fields of European border controls: the military-strategic field, the internal security field, and the global cyber-surveillance social universe. Officers active in these discrete fields hold specific understandings of the border, their task, and their object of intervention: to patrol and repel people across a “solid barrier;” to police, surveil and filter them over a “liquid border;” and to categorize, process and profile travelers across a “gaseous border.” This shows the disjuncture between the practices of the different nation-states of the EU and the policy of their common institutions, despite the discourse of the integrated management of EU borders.[91] Several studies on the regulation of global movement have emphasized the interaction of new technologies, state institutions, legal structures, and categorizations that have made international borders the primary site of regulation of migration since the end of the 19th century. Others have argued, that the “loss of control“ is one of the reasons for the militarization and „spectacle of the border.“[92] Again, others have pointed to the “exterritorialization” of borders, which has a long historical tradition seen, for example, in the American policy of “remote control.”[93] In present-day United States and Europe, and in a climate of increasing “moral panics”, countries have experienced shifting borders, apparent on the one hand in the extension of interior immigration policing practices and a strengthening of internal border control through surveillance agencies, increased rates of deportation, and the proliferation of internment centers (“border insourcing”) and on the other hand in massive externalized bordering (“border outsourcing”).[94]

The concept of the free movement of individuals within the European Union would seem to no longer reflect reality – the walls of what was once called Fortress Europe (Festung Europa) have been extra-territorialized and systems of “remote control” (such as the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union [FRONTEX]) have been adapted to the needs of migration policies.[95] “The border,” William Walters argues, “has become a privileged signifier: it operates as a sort of meta-concept that condenses a whole set of negative meanings, including illegal immigration […]. At the same time, the border holds out the promise of a solution to these hazards.”[96]

Finally, in times of a rhetoric of “refugee crisis,” tightened border controls, recurring racist attacks, racial profiling, and a surge of white (male) supremacy (not only) in Europe, questions of race and gender in an intersectional approach call for new attention. Despite assumptions of a „raceless world“ in Europe, racial hierarchy is still with us.[97] As critical race theorist David Theo Goldberg pointed out, „[Race] is a set of conditions, shifting over time. [...] Race serves as an invisible border line demarcating both who formally belongs or does not belong, and what can or cannot be said about it.“[98] In the post-WW II period, racial arrangement and order were disavowed in the European imaginary. As a result of the willingness to leave behind racist ideologies informing colonialism and the Holocaust, the notion of “racelessness” was accompanied by a major paradigmatic shift expressed in the growing importance of culture over biology.[99] This regime of “raceless racism” related to a specific epistemological rupture that evolved after the World War II in relation with the UNESCO “Statements of Race” in 1950 and 1951. Race was removed from official language and declared unsuitable to describe social formations.[100]

Yet, new forms of racism attribute the alleged incompatibility between different cultures to an incapacity of different cultures to communicate and even live peacefully with each other.[101] More recently, cultural differences have been strongly linked to racialized notions of religion and secularity, especially in regard to Islam.[102] The “refugee crisis” – and this still calls for further research – has not triggered, but definitely reinforced such ideas. The struggles of migration and borders reinserted race and postcoloniality as “central to adequately addressing the most fundamental problems of what ‘Europe’ is supposed to be, and who may be counted as ‘European.’”[103]

Likewise, although the gendered nature of migration is impossible to ignore, it has only figured rather late in studies on migration.[104] Feminist migration research has been understood as a field that investigates “the ways in which migration differs along the multiply inflected lines of gender, the signifying processes that uphold these differences, the material implications and refractions of such distinctions, and the ways in which spatial mobility is intertwined with the production of difference.”[105] Topics range from the gendered dimensions of migrants’ un-/paid work to new legislation in parts of Europe that restricts access to social services for Muslim women wearing a burka.[106]

The potent interplay of race and gender became especially prevalent in the aftermaths of the New Year’s Eve festivities in Cologne in January 2016 with sexual assaults most likely perpetrated by unruly “North African or Middle Eastern” young men (including migrants and refugees). The incident fed into the populist anti-immigration rhetoric of right-wing parties and voters but also circulated amongst more liberal groups. The offenders were immediately cast as potential foreign “criminals,” “sexual predators” and “rapists,” exemplifying a dangerous type of deviancy, which called for their necessary deportation from the country, thereby shifting the focus away from the general question of sexual violence against women in society at large. The incident and its manifold and fierce reactions may be read as a manifestation of the “crisis of multiculturalism,” a phenomenon recently scrutinized and historicized by Rita Chin.[107]

But research on gender issues has been manifold and has developed in various directions in the past decades. It has touched the gendered nature of citizenship and transnationalism, on belonging, exclusion, and identity, on diasporic communities, the extension of research beyond the Europe-American context, or the gendered dimension of race and ethnicity.[108] Furthermore, scholarship of how ideas about femininity and masculinity affect migration and integration, a perspective beyond the domestic and private domain of care workers looking at gender at work in public arenas of (migrant) organizations, media and public opinion,[109] notions of citizenship, politics and changing immigration policy has been brought forth by a cohort of scholars. But also homemaking has been related to multiple understandings of homeland.[110] Feminist migration geographers have critically scrutinized the politics of difference as they shape the processes affecting population movements through time as well as knowledge that is produced about such processes.[111]

Moreover, in the field of migrant knowledge, we still know little, for example, about how migrant women – as distinct from migrant men – become producers or conveyors of particular bodies of knowledge or, conversely, about the gender-specific migrant knowledge of migrant men.[112] The call to see migrant women as active subjects rather than passive victims who accept subordinate roles both in their families and in the societies where they have settled, has led to an extension of the definition of the political as well as adopting a transnational perspective in order to include the social fields encompassing more than one country in which these women operate.[113]

The Production of “Illegality”

Concerning one of the leading subjects of current debates on migration today, one finds a growing literature on the construction of the concept of “illegality” and its historical development. Other terms such as “undocumented,” “unauthorized,” or “irregular” prove to be just as problematic or misleading as “illegal.” For example, not all illegal immigrants are necessarily undocumented or unauthorized when entering a country. The term “illegal” should remind us that not the migrants themselves but rather their activities are regarded as “illegal” by the states and therefore refers to the construction of what is legal.[114] As the anthropologist Nicholas De Genova has observed, whereas the term “illegal” migrant supplies a “broad legal or descriptive rubric” it encompasses a tremendous heterogeneity: “illegality” must be understood as an epistemological, methodological and political problem.[115] It is vital to produce a historically informed account of the sociopolitical processes of “illegalization” themselves. “Illegalization” is the discursive and legal production of migrant “illegality”, which, as a social relation, is inseparable from citizenship; and despite their stigmatization, “illegal” migrants do not exist in hermetically sealed communities – in everyday life they often entertain close social relations with “legal” migrants and citizens. Like migration itself, “illegality” is a truly global phenomenon, achieving specific relevance only in specific historical and social contexts. The reason for the increasing numbers of migrants moving in “illegal” ways can mainly be seen in the increased state control over mobility. At present, despite the desire of large numbers of people to relocate, legal opportunities to do so exist only for a privileged few – and human trafficking and migrant smuggling have developed into lucrative businesses.[116]

“Illegal” migration is a complex concept. For Western states,[117] “illegal” migration covers people 1) crossing borders without the proper authority, including unauthorized exit; those 2) crossing a border in a seemingly legal way through the use of fraudulent documents or by using legal documents fraudulently, or, alternatively, through “marriages of convenience” or impostor relatives; and those 3) entering legally and overstaying one’s period of authorization. Related to the principle that the state defines who crosses and occupies its territory, one must distinguish between what states and what people consider to be legitimate. From a state perspective, “illegals” are not simply transgressing the law but are undermining the ability of the state to control its territory. By contrast, as the historian Mae Ngai reminds us, illegal aliens, who are marginalized by their position in the lower strata of the workforce and through their exclusion from the polity, “might be understood as a caste, unambiguously situated outside the boundaries of formal membership and social legitimacy.” Yet the meaning of illegality shifts across time and space and there are important regional differences in the way the concept of legal/illegal migration is applied. A historical perspective may show how the sovereign state’s relationship to legal and moral norms is contingent and subject to change.[118]

Whereas the various notions of illegality and the concept of being illegal date back to the process of state formation and the emergence of systems of local poverty relief, the term “illegal” – as it applies to migrants – was only coined in the 1930s. In early-modern Europe, people outside of the highly organized labor market (e.g. vagrants), along with anyone else seen as a potential burden to local social relief systems, were restricted from relocating or from gaining admission to a municipality. Similar vagrancy policies were reproduced in the colonial empires of the nineteenth century. Yet in the early modern period few restrictions existed on immigration at the state level, whereas emigration was understood as a loss of state revenue in the form of taxes as well as a loss of manpower; there was also the accompanying fear that local social systems would be made responsible for those left behind.

Although the period between 1850 and 1914 has often been regarded as the apex of “free migration,” it also saw the emergence of racially motivated migration regimes, which excluded, for example, Asian migrants from white settler colonies.[119] Several decades later the exclusion of people seen as “non-white” and therefore racially inferior – e.g. the Chinese – produced diverse forms of illegality, as presently illustrated by the example of Mexican immigrants to the U.S. Movements to legally curtail rights of entrance went hand in hand in many countries with the monopolization of migration control.[120] The rise of nationalism made it essential for states to be able to identify their citizens. Whereas race and national origin did not automatically lead to exclusion, the rise in political participation and the extension of social rights were the result of a varied palette of restrictions and control technologies. As the following examples show, several continuities began to develop with regard to illegality:[121] Poor migrants in general were not welcome and were prone to deportation (although not all deportations sprang from illegality) and state control tightened with the state’s interest in social welfare and labor market regulation (especially in highly developed postwar welfare states).

For purposes of historical analysis, it is important to bear in mind that regimes throughout the world share the desire, if not always the ability, to control migration. Nevertheless, this can also entail highly contradictory governmental responses towards illegal migration – as can be seen very clearly in the U.S. state’s ambivalent attitude towards Mexican immigration over the course of this past century. Selective enforcement of American immigration law – coordinated with seasonal labor demand by U.S. employers – has long maintained a “revolving door policy” whereby illegalization and deportations occur concurrently with the large-scale, largely permanent importation of Mexican migrant labor. One of the consequences of this history of selective enforcement policies is that the sociopolitical category “illegal alien” has itself become saturated with racial connotations and indeed has long served as a constitutive dimension of the racialized inscription of Mexicans in the United States.[122]

Therefore, prospective research on illegality needs to further investigate its impact on various social groups by using intersectional analytic categories such as race, class, gender, age and the more. As the historian Marlou Schrover and her colleagues have convincingly argued, illegality is constructed differently for men and women at given times and in given places. It is also important to understand what differences are traditionally expected when it comes to women and men.[123] Also, the common portrayal of “illegal” migrants as victims of smugglers and traffickers seems inconsistent with the evidence that the many migrants move on their own initiative. Therefore, one must examine the public and political perceptions of “illegality” and the actors involved.

Finally, one of the most thriving interdisciplinary research branches connected to a critical assessment of migration and “illegality” during the past decade have been the so-called “deportation studies.”[124] Deportation, incarceration in extra-territorial spaces and human rights abuses have become part of the everyday life of “illegals” and others holding any irregular status. As a political process with genealogical roots in historical forms of expulsion, deportations are not new.[125] Nevertheless, practices of removal especially since the 1990s in Western states have increasingly become part of our political and cultural landscapes as liberal governments eager to assert their sovereignty in an “age of terror” team up with private corporations experienced in the industrialization of confinement and exclusion.[126] Deportations, as Daniel Kanstroom argues, are not simply an instrument of immigration policy. Throughout history, deportations have also been “a powerful tool of discretionary social control, a key feature of the national security state, and a most tangible component of the recurrent episodes of xenophobia that have bedeviled” nations of immigrants.[127] In the face of a growing militarization of borders and an expanding „securitization“ in all fields of mobility, deportations have gained prominence in recent times. Using a range of different nomenclatures (e.g. expulsion, removal, involuntary departures), various categories of unwanted citizens and non-citizens (such as failed asylum seekers, convicted foreign nationals and nationals, undocumented migrants) have been evicted from states in growing numbers.[128] Yet, as anthropologist Nathalie Peutz argued, little progress has been made in including the narratives of those who are deported both before and after their arrival in their purported homeland – and the integral violence of these processes.[129]

Therefore, historians of migration must not only analyze the origins, development and legitimization of migration policies but also investigate the often violent effects that these policies have on migrants.[130] Critical migration studies have gone even a step further, partly voicing more radical demands.[131] For one, as geographer Joseph Nevins has articulated, the “factors driving out-migration from homelands made unviable, coupled with multiple forms of violence experienced by migrants, demonstrate the need for an expansion of rights.”[132] He therefore asserts the need for a “right to mobility.” Others have pointed out to the problematic role of migration scholarship itself: “The persistent reification of migrants and migration […] (re-)fetishizes and (re-)naturalizes the epistemological stability attributed to the (‘national’) state as a modular fixture of geopolitical space. In this regard, migration scholarship (however critical) is implicated in a continuous (re-)reification of ‘migrants’ as a distinct category of human mobility. Thus, the methodological nationalism that rationalizes the whole conjuncture of borders-making-migrants supplies a kind of defining horizon for migration studies as such.”[133]

The challenge to the study of methodological nationalism therefore still remains to develop a set of concepts for the study of migration that thinks beyond these preconceptions of a nation-based framework by making migration an integral part of the study of societies and the world – rather than merely a distinct object of research and politics.

“For Freedom of Movement.” Migration Actions Rostock Germany, June 2007. [ Wikimedia Commons] ([ CC BY-SA 2.5])
“For Freedom of Movement.” Migration Actions Rostock Germany, June 2007. Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.5)

Recommended Reading

Bade, Klaus J. / Emmer, Pieter C. / Lucassen, Leo et al. (Hrsg.), Enzyklopädie Migration in Europa: vom 17. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, Paderborn/München/Wien/Zürich 2007: Ferdinand Schöningh; Wilhelm Fink 
Brettell, Caroline B. / Hollifield, James F. (Hrsg.), Migration theory: talking across disciplines, New York 2015: Routledge 
Faist, Thomas / Fauser, Margit / Reisenauer, Eveline, Transnational migration, Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA 2013: Polity Press 
Hahn, Sylvia, Historische Migrationsforschung, Frankfurt am Main 2012: Campus Verlag 
Harzig, Christiane / Hoerder, Dirk / Gabaccia, Donna R., What is migration history?, Cambridge, UK ; Malden, MA 2009: Polity Press 
Hoerder, Dirk, Cultures in contact: world migrations in the second millennium, Durham, N.C. 2002: Duke Univ. Press 
Lucassen, Jan / Lucassen, Leo (Hrsg.), Migration, migration history, history: old paradigms and new perspectives, Bern/Berlin 2005: Peter Lang 
Martin, Susan F., International migration: evolving trends from the early twentieth century to the present, New York 2014: Cambridge University Press 
McKeown, Adam M., Melancholy order: Asian migration and the globalization of borders, New York, NY 2008: Columbia Univ. Press 
Ness, Immanuel (Hrsg.), The encyclopedia of global human migration (5 Volumes), Hoboken, NJ 2013: Wiley-Blackwell 
Oltmer, Jochen, Globale Migration: Geschichte und Gegenwart, München 2016: C.H.Beck 
Schwenken, Helen, Globale Migration zur Einführung, Hamburg 2018: Junius 
Wimmer, Andreas / Glick Schiller, Nina, Methodological Nationalism and Beyond: Nation-State Building, Migration and the Social Sciences, in: Global Networks 2, H.4, 2002, S. 301-334 
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  1. Dirk Hoerder, Human Mobility, in: Iriye Akira/Pierre-Yves Saunier (eds.), The Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History, Basingstoke 2009, pp. 502-508.
  2. Peggy Levitt, What's Wrong with Migration Scholarship? A Critique and a Way Forward, in: Identities. Global Studies in Culture and Power 19 (2012) 4, pp. 493-500.
  3. Maribel Casas-Cortes et al. (eds.), New Keywords. Migration and Borders. in: Cultural Studies 29 (2015) 1, pp. 55-87; here pp. 61 and 63.
  4. Fiorenza Picozza, Dubliners. Unthinking Displacement, Illegality, and Refugeeness within Europe’s Geographies of Asylum, in: Nicholas De Genova, The Borders of “Europe” and the European Question, in: ibid., (ed.), The Borders of “Europe”. Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering, Durham/London 2017, p. 233.
  5. Casas-Cortes et al. (eds.), New Keywords, p. 56.
  6. The United Nations defines an international migrant as a person who stays outside of their usual country of residence for at least one year. Yet, it has been argued that clear-cut categorizations based on the time span that individuals or groups live outside their countries of birth or on their motivations for relocating are hardly possible and not particularly useful. Such categorizations cannot grasp the complexity and performative character of migration processes nor the diversity of actors and the ambivalence or ambiguities of arrival. Simone Lässig/Swen Steinberg, Knowledge on the Move. New Approaches Toward a History of Migrant Knowledge, in: Geschichte & Gesellschaft 43 (2017), pp. 313-346, here p. 316.
  7. Stephen Castles, Migration. Sociological Aspects, in: Neil Smelser/Paul B. Baltes (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 14, Amsterdam 2001, pp. 9824-9828; Khalid Koser, International Migration. A Very Short Introduction, Oxford/New York 2007. On mobility see Peter Adey, Mobility, New York 2010.
  8. Christiane Harzig/Dirk Hoerder, with Donna Gabaccia, What is Migration History, Cambridge 2009, p. 3; Sylvia Hahn, Historische Migrationsforschung, Frankfurt a.M. 2012.
  9. Jochen Oltmer, Einführung. Europäische Migrationsverhältnisse und Migrationsregime in der Neuzeit, in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 35 (2009) 1, pp. 5-27. A definition based on migrant agency und voluntariness must to a certain degree be modified for many migrants due to specific structural constraints (in its most extreme expression, for example, for enslaved or indentured workers and refugees) since these are often deprived of agency. See Sabine Damir-Gailsdorf et al. (eds.), Bonded Labour: Global and Comparative Perspectives (18th-21st Century), Bielefeld 2017.
  10. This should not lead to a false notion in the sense of the modernization paradigm proposed by Wilbur Zelinksy and others who argued that migration became a significant phenomenon only in the nineteenth century as a result of industrialization and urbanization. For a critique of this paradigm see Leslie Page Moch, Moving Europeans. Migration in Western Europe since 1650, Bloomington/IN 1992.
  11. See William Walters, Migration, Vehicles, and Politics. Three Theses on Viapolitics, in: European Journal of Social Theory 18 (2015) 4, pp. 469-488.
  12. Hoerder, Human Mobility, p. 503.
  13. This chapter is largely based on Harzig/Hoerder, What is Migration History, pp. 42ff., Hoerder, Human Mobility, and Philipp Ther, Die Außenseiter. Flucht, Flüchtlinge und Integration im modernen Europa, Frankfurt a.M. 2017. See also Dirk Hoerder, Cultures in Contact: World Migrations in the Second Millennium, Durham, North Carolina 2002.
  14. For an extended overview see Norman M. Naimark, Fires of Hatred. Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe, Cambridge 2001; Detlef Brandes/Holm Sundhaussen/Stefan Troebst (eds.), Lexikon der Vertreibungen. Deportation, Zwangsaussiedlung und ethnische Säuberung im Europa des 20. Jahrhunderts, Wien/Köln/Weimar 2010.
  15. See John Torpey, The Invention of the Passport. Surveillance, Citizenship and the State, Cambridge 2000; id., Coming and Going. On the State Monopolization of the Legitimate ‘Means of Movement’, in: Sociological Theory 16 (1998), pp. 239-259.
  16. Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands. Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, London 2011; Norman M. Naimark, Stalin's Genocides, Princeton 2010.
  17. Elizabeth Buettner, Europe after Empire. Decolonization, Society, and Culture, Cambridge 2017.
  18. Koser, International Migration, p. 74.
  19. Harzig/Hoerder, What is Migration History, p. 46.
  20. Ibid., pp. 48ff.
  21. Caroline B. Brettell/James F. Hollifield (eds.), Migration Theory. Talking across Disciplines, 3rd ed. New York 2015.
  22. See Andreas Wimmer/Nina Glick Schiller, Methodological Nationalism and Beyond. Nation-State Building, Migration and the Social Sciences, in: Global Networks 2 (2002) 4, pp. 301-334.
  23. Lässig/Steinberg, Knowledge on the Move.
  24. See, for example, Donna Gabaccia/Dirk Hoerder, Connecting Seas and Connected Ocean Rims. Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans and China Seas Migrations from the 1830s to the 1930s, Leiden 2011.
  25. Adam McKeown, Global Migration, 1846-1949, in: Journal of World History 15 (2004) 2, pp. 155-189.
  26. Leo Lucassen, Migration and World History. Reaching a New Frontier, in: International Review of Social History 52 (2007), pp. 89-96.
  27. McKeown’s results led to an intense debate already a decade ago. See, for example, International Review of Social History 52 (2007) 1, pp. 89-142.
  28. Parvati Nair, Postcolonial Theories of Migration, in: Immanuel Ness (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration, 5 Vol., Wiley, Malden, 2013, pp. 2452-2458.
  29. Maria do Mar Castro Varela/Paul Mecheril (eds.), Die Dämonisierung der Anderen. Rassismuskritik in der Gegenwart, Bielefeld 2016.
  30. For an overview over theories of and approaches in migration research see Dirk Hoerder/Jan Lucassen/Leo Lucassen, Terminologien und Konzepte in der Migrationsforschung, in: Klaus J. Bade/Pieter C. Emmer/Leo Lucassen/Jochen Oltmer (eds.), Enzyklopädie Migration in Europa. Vom 17. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, Paderborn 2007, pp. 28-53; Alejandro Portes/Josh DeWind (eds.), Rethinking Migration. New Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives, New York/Oxford 2007; Jan Lucassen/Leo Lucassen (eds.), Migration, Migration History, History. Old Paradigms and New Perspectives, 3rd ed., Bern 2005; Helen Schwenken, Globale Migration. Zur Einführung, Hamburg 2018, chapter 3.
  31. Harzig/Hoerder, What is Migration History, pp. 87f.
  32. Harzig/Hoerder, What is Migration History, p. 87.
  33. For a critical assessment concerning the concepts of assimilation and integration see Adrian Favell, Immigration, Integration and Mobility. New Agendas in Migration Studies, Colchester 2014; Jutta Aumüller, Assimilation. Kontroversen um ein migrationspolitisches Konzept, Bielefeld 2009.
  34. For literature on diaspora see Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas. An Introduction, Seattle 1997; Miriam Rürup (ed.), Praktiken der Differenz. Diasporakulturen in der Zeitgeschichte, Göttingen 2009; Arif Dirlik, It is not where you are from, it is where you are at. Place-Based Alternatives to Diaspora Discourses, in: Jonathan Friedman/Shalini Randeria (eds.), Worlds on the Move. Globalization, Migration and Cultural Security, London 2004, pp. 141-165.
  35. Harzig/Hoerder, What is Migration History, pp. 110ff.
  36. Brettell/Hollifield, Migration Theory, pp. 1ff.
  37. Nancy L. Green, The Comparative Method and Poststructural Structuralism. New Perspectives for Migration Studies, in: Lucassen/Lucassen, Migration, pp. 57-72.
  38. See Robert E. Park/Herbert A. Miller/Kenneth Thompson, Old World Traits Transplanted. The Early Sociology of Culture, New York 1921.
  39. Alejandro Portes, Children of Immigrants. Segmented Assimiliation and its Determinants, in: id. (ed.), The Economic Sociology of Immigration, New York 1995, pp. 248-279.
  40. Linda Basch/Nina Glick Schiller/Cristina Blanc-Szanton (eds.), Towards a Transnational Perspective on Migration. Race, Class, Ethnicity, and Nationalism Reconsidered, New York 1992; id. (eds.), From Immigrant to Transmigrant. Theorizing Transnational Migration, in: Anthropological Quarterly 68 (1995) 1, pp. 48-63.
  41. From the burgeoning literature on transnationalism see, for example, Sanjeev Khagram/Peggy Levitt (eds.), The Transnational Studies Reader. Intersections and Innovations, New York 2008; Thomas Faist/Margit Fauser/Eveline Reisenauer, Transnational Migration, Malden 2013.
  42. Aihwa Ong, Flexible Citizenship. The Cultural Logics of Transnationality, Durham, NC 1999.
  43. Peter Kistivo, Theorizing Transnational Immigration: A Critical Review of Current Efforts, in: Ethnic and Racial Studies 24 (2002) 4, pp. 549-577; Alejandro Portes/Luis E. Guarnizo/Patricia Landolt, The Study of Transnationalism. Pitfalls and Promise of an Emergent Research Field, in: Ethnic and Racial Studies 22 (1999) 2, pp. 217-237.
  44. Arjun Appadurai, Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, Minneapolis 1996; Saskia Sassen, Losing Control? Sovereignty in an Age of Globalization, New York 1996.
  45. See for example Donna Gabaccia, Juggling Jargons. “Italians Everywhere”, Diaspora or Transnationalism?, in: Traverse. Zeitschrift für Geschichte 12 (2005) 1, pp. 49-64.
  46. Helma Lutz/Mirjana Morokvasic-Müller, Transnationalität im Kulturvergleich. Migration als Katalysator in der Genderforschung, in: Aylâ Neusel/Margot Poppenhusen (eds.), Universität neu denken. Die Internationale Frauenuniversität “Technik und Kultur”, Opladen 2002, pp. 111-124.
  47. See, for example, Hilary Cunningham/Josiah McC. Heyman, Introduction. Mobilities and Enclosures at Borders, in: Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 11 (2004) 3, pp. 289-302; William Walters/Barbara Lüthi, The Politics of Cramped Space. Dilemmas of Action, Containment and Mobility, in: International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society 29 (2016) 4, pp. 359-366.
  48. See for example Patricia R. Pessar/Sarah J. Mahler, Transnational Migration. Bringing Gender In, in: International Migration Review 37 (2003) 3, pp. 812-846; Peggy Levitt, God Needs No Passport. Immigrants and the Changing American Religious Landscape, New York/London 2007; Eithne Luibhéid/Lionel Cantú Jr. (eds.), Queer Migrations. Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings, Minneapolis/London 2005.
  49. Dirk Hoerder, Transkulturelle Lebensformen. Menschen in lokalen – (post-)nationalen – globalen Welten, in: Sozial.Geschichte 20 (2005) 1, pp. 11-29; Madeleine Herren et al. (eds.), Transcultural History. Theories, Methods, Sources, Berlin 2012.
  50. See for example Anja Peleikis, Lebanese in Motion. Gender and the Making of a Translocal Village, Bielefeld 2003; Julie Y. Chu, To Be “Emplaced”. Fuzhounese Migration and the Politics of Destination, in: Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 13 (2006), pp. 395-425.
  51. See the comments mentioned by Deniz Göktürk in: Lisa Gerlach, Report: Migration and Knowledge, in: History of Knowledge, December 21, 2016,
  52. For example, during the past decades the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) or the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have played a leading role in and beyond Europe in this context.
  53. Didier Bigo/Sergio Carrera/Elspeth Guild (eds.), Foreigners, Refugees or Minorities? Rethinking People in the Context of Border Controls and Visas, Farnham 2013; Antoine Pécoud, Depoliticising Migration. Global Governance and International Migration Narratives, Basingstoke and Hants 2015; Susan F. Martin, International Migration. Evolving Trends from the Early Twentieth Century to the Present, New York 2014; Rey Koslowski, Global Mobility Regimes, New York 2011.
  54. Europe/Crisis: New Keywords of “the Crisis” in and of “Europe”. New Keywords Collective: Lisa Riedner/Soledad Álvarez-Velasco/Nicholas De Genova/Martina Tazzioli/Huub van Baar, “Mobility”,
  55. Labor Migration (eds.), Vom Rand ins Zentrum. Perspektiven einer kritischen Migrationsforschung, Berlin 2014.
  56. See Damir Skenderovic. Vom Gegenstand zum Akteur. Perspektivenwechsel in der Migrationsgeschichte der Schweiz. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Geschichte 65 (2015) 1, pp. 1-14.
  57. Lässig/Steinberg, Knowledge on the Move, p. 313.
  58. Noel B. Salazar, The Power of Imagination in Transnational Mobilities, in: Identities. Global Studies in Culture and Power, 18 (2011) 6, pp. 576-598.
  59. Casas-Cortes et al. (eds.), New Keywords, p. 85.
  60. Lässig/Steinberg, Knowledge on the Move, p. 325; Tobias Brinkmann (ed.), Points of Passage. Jewish Migrants from Eastern Europe in Scandinavia, Germany, and Britain 1880-1914, New York 2013. For a reflection on different categories of knowledge see Allison Schmidt, Some Useful Categories of Knowledge for Understanding Migration, in: German Historical Institute Washington, DC, History of Knowledge Blog, 2017/03/13/some-useful-categories-of-knowledge-for-understanding-migration/.
  61. Janet Roitman, Anti-Crisis, Durham 2014, p. 5.
  62. Manuela Bojadžijev/Sandro Mezzadra, “Refugee Crisis” or Crisis of European Migration Policies?, in: FocaalBlog, For an alternative understanding of citizenship see Engin F. Isin/Greg M. Nielsen, Acts of Citizenship, London 2008.
  63. Peter Gatrell, The Making of the Modern Refugee, Oxford 2013; Matthew Frank/Jessica Reinisch (eds.), Refugees in Europe 1919-1959. A Forty Years' Crisis?, London 2017.
  64. See UNHCR, Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, Whereas in 1951 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognized 1.5 million refugees, at present the UNHCR reports approximately 65.6 million forced migrants, with 22.5 defined as refugees and another 10 million stateless people. See UNHCR, Figures at a Glance: Statistical Yearbooks,
  65. Ther, Die Außenseiter, p. 11.
  66. Koser, A Very Short, p. 74.
  67. David Farrier (ed.), Postcolonial Asylum. Seeking Sanctuary Before the Law, Liverpool 2011; April Shemak, Postcolonial Refugee Narratives, in: Ness (ed.), The Encyclopedia, pp. 2447-2452; Buettner, Europe after Empire; idem, European Others and Others in Europe? Entangled Migration Histories in the Postwar Era, in: Ash Amin/Philip Lewis (eds.), European Union and Disunion. Reflections on European Identity, London 2017, pp. 35-40.
  68. For a new assessment of the Convention see Susan Kneebone (ed.), The Refugees Convention 50 Years On. Globalisation and International Law, Aldershot 2003.
  69. Liisa Malkki, Refugees and Exile. From “Refugee Studies” to the National Order of Things, in: Annual Review of Anthropology 24 (1995), pp. 495-523; id., Speechless Emissaries. Refugees, Humanitarianism, and Dehistoricization, in: Cultural Anthropology 11 (1996) 3, pp. 377-404.
  70. For a differentiation between “direct” and “indirect” coercion as flight-inducing factors see Ther, Die Außenseiter, p. 17. The difficulty of a precise definition is addressed in Schwenken, Global Migration, chapter 2.2.
  71. Persecution on grounds of gender was included only as late as the 1990s.
  72. Ther, Die Außenseiter, p. 18.
  73. Roger Zetter, More Labels, Fewer Refugees. Remaking the Refugee Label in an Era of Globalization, in: Journal of Refugee Studies 20 (2007) 2, pp. 172-192, here p. 173.
  74. Ibid., p. 180.
  75. The categorization into “migrants,” “undocumented migrants,” “refugees” and so on are increasingly under attack. Firstly, these dominant categories fail to capture adequately the complex relationship between political, social and economic drivers of migration or their shifting significance for individuals over time and space. Secondly, the element of voluntariness that traditionally distinguishes migrants (whether “documented” or “undocumented”) from refugees has become the object of growing criticism, as it may be extremely difficult to ascertain on the ground, with the effect that these categories are extremely blurred and often untenable. See Heaven Crawley/Dimitris Skleparis, Refugees, Migrants, Neither, Both. Categorical Fetishism and the Politics of Bounding in Europe’s ‘Migration Crisis’, in: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44 (2018) 1, pp. 48-64.
  76. Peter Nyers, Rethinking Refugees. Beyond States of Emergency, New York 2006; William Maley, What is a Refugee?, Oxford 2016.
  77. Peter Gatrell, Population Displacement in the Baltic Region in the Twentieth Century. From “Refugee Studies” to Refugee History, in: Journal of Baltic Studies 38 (2007) 1, pp. 43-60.
  78. Liisa Malkki, Purity and Exile. Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania, Chicago 1995.
  79. David Turton, Conceptualising Forced Migration, Refugee Studies Centre Working Paper No. 12, October 2003, p. 12.
  80. Casas-Cortes et al. (eds.), New Keywords.
  81. For a critical analysis see, for example, the special issue of Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies 16 (2018) 1-2: Mediatization and Politicization of Refugee Crisis in Europe; Barbara Lüthi, Agitated Times: Why Historians Need to Question the Rhetoric of the “Refugee Crisis”, in: Histoire@Politique: Politique, culture, société 31 (2017),; Nicholas De Genova, The “Migrant Crisis” as Racial Crisis: Do Black Lives Matter in Europe, in: Ethnic and Racial Studies 41 (2018) 10, pp. 1-18.
  82. Adrian Little/Nick Vaughan-Williams, Stopping Boats, Saving Lives, Securing Subjects: Humanitarian Borders in Europe and Australia, in: European Journal of International Relations 23 (2017) 3, pp. 533-556.
  83. Nicholas De Genova, The Borders of “Europe” and the European Question, in: ibid. (ed.), The Borders of “Europe”. Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering, Durham 2017, pp. 1-35, here p. 2, see online; Yolande Jansen et al. (eds.), The Irregularization of Migration in Contemporary Europe: Dentention, Deportation, Drowning, London/New York 2015. Similar patterns of militarization and securitization can be observed, for example, at the U.S.-Mexican border where scholars and observers have pointed to continuous deaths of migrants trying to cross the desert into the USA, even if these are not regarded as “refugees” but rather as labor force entering the United States “illegally”. See, for example, Joseph Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond. The War on “Illegals” and the Remaking of the U.S.-Mexico Boundary, New York 2010; Kathleen Staudt/Tony Payan/Z. Anthony Kruszewski (eds.), Human Rights along the U.S-Mexico Border. Gendered Violence and Insecurity, Tuscon 2009. Furthermore, other under-examined refugee and migration “crisis” are occurring in other places of the world such as the displacement of Yemeni, Somali, Ethiopian, and Eritrean refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants across the Red Sea.
  84. Harzig/Hoerder, What is Migration History, p. 45. On the numbers of migrants and the history of migration to Europe during colonialism and decolonization see e.g. Buettner, Europe after Empire; Hoerder, Cultures in Contact, p. 499; Klaus J. Bade, Migration in European History, Malden/Oxford, 2003, chapter 4.
  85. Casas-Cortes et al. (eds.), New Keywords, p. 69; William Walters, Mapping Schengenland. Denaturalizing the Border, in: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 20 (2002) 5, pp. 561-580.
  86. See, for example, Sandro Mezzadra/Brett Neilson, Border as Method or, the Multiplication of Labour, Durham, North Carolina 2013; Jana Häberlein, The Vitality of Borders. Migration Through and Bordering Practices in Switzerland, in: Barbara Lüthi/Damir Skenderovic (eds,), Switzerland and Migration. Historical and Current Perspectives on a Changing Landscape, Basingstoke 2018; Charles Heller et al., Disobedient Sensing and Border Struggles at the Maritime Frontier of Europe, in: Spheres – Journal for Digital Cultures 4 (2017), online
  87. De Genova, The Borders of “Europe”, p. 5.
  88. See Stephan Scheel, Das Konzept der Autonomie der Migration überdenken? Yes, please!, in: Movements. Journal for Critical Migration and Border Regime Studies 1 (2015) 2, pp. 1-15, online; Sandro Mezzadra, Autonomie der Migration – Kritik und Ausblick. Eine Zwischenbilanz, online More specifically on “migrant struggles” see Casas-Cortes et al. (eds.), New Keywords, p. 80-83; Maurice Stierl et al. (eds.), The Contentious Politics of Refugee and Migrant Protest and Solidarity Movements. Remaking Citizenship from the Margins, London 2017.
  89. Maurice Stierl, Excessive Migration, Excessive Governance: Border Entanglements in Greek EU-rope, in: De Genova, The Borders of “Europe”, pp. 210-232, here p. 210 and 214.
  90. De Genova, The Borders of “Europe”, p. 6.
  91. Didier Bigo, Death in the Mediterranean Sea. The Results of the Three Fields of Action of EU Border Controls, in: Yolande Jansen et al. (eds.), The Irregularization of Migration in Contemporary Europe: Dentention, Deportation, Drowning, London/New York 2015, pp. 55-70; Ruben Andersson, Rescued and Caught: The Humanitarian-Security Nexus at Europe’s Frontiers, in: De Genova, The Borders of “Europe”, pp. 64-94, here p. 67.
  92. Nicholas De Genova, Migrant „Illegality“ and Deportability in Everyday Life, in: Annual Review of Anthropology 31 (2002), S. 419-447.
  93. See, for example, Aristide Zolberg, A Nation by Design. Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America, New York 2006; Andreas Fahrmeir et al. (eds.), Migration Control in the North Atlantic World. The Evolution of State Practices in Europe and the United States from the French Revolution to the Inter-War Period, New York 2003.
  94. For the United States see Mathew Coleman, Immigration Geopolitics Beyond the Mexico–US Border, in: Antipode 39 (2007) 1, pp. 54-76; for the European case see Laia Soto Bermant, The Mediterranean Question. Europe and its Predicament in the Southern Peripheries, in: De Genova, The Borders of “Europe,” pp. 120-140.
  95. See for a critical view Roberta Mungianu, Frontex and Non-Refoulement. The International Responsibility of the EU, Cambridge 2016; Melanie Fink, Frontex Working Arrangements. Legitimacy and Human Rights Concerns Regarding ‘Technical Relationships’, in: Merkurious: Utrecht Journal of International and European Law 28 (2012) 75, pp. 20-35.
  96. William Walters, Putting the Migration-Security Complex in its Place, in: Louise Amoore/Marieke de Goede (eds.), Risk and the War on Terror, London 2008, pp 158-177, here pp. 174-175.
  97. Paul Gilroy, Against Race. Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line, Cambridge 2000.
  98. David Theo Goldberg, “Racial Europeanization”, in Ethnic and Racial Studies 29 (2006), 2, p. 331-364; here p. 337 and p. 349.
  99. David Theo Goldberg, The Racial State, Malden, Mass., 2002.
  100. Elazar Barkan, The Retreat of Scientific Racism: Changing Concepts of Race in Britain and the United States between the Two World Wars, Cambridge 1993.
  101. Verena Stolcke, Talking Culture. New Boundaries, New Rhetorics of Exclusion in Europe, in Current Anthropology 36 (1995) 1, pp. 1-24.
  102. Maria do Mar Castro Varela/Paul Mecheril (eds.), Die Dämonisierung der Anderen: Rassismuskritik in der Gegenwart, Bielefeld 2016; Joan Wallach Scott, The Politics of the Veil, Princeton 2007.
  103. For a critical assessment of the “European Question” also in regards to migration and citizenship see De Genova, The Borders of “Europe”, p. 23; Gurminder Bhambra, Postcolonial Europe, or Understanding Europe in Times of the Postcolonial, in: Chris Rumford (ed.), The SAGE Handbook of European Studies, London 2009, pp. 69-85.
  104. See, for example, Suzanne Sinke, Gender and Migration. Historical Perspectives, in: The International Migration Review 40 (2006) 1, pp. 82-103; Marlou Schrover/Eileen Janes Yeo (eds.), Gender, Migration, and the Public Sphere, 1850-2005, New York 2010; Dirk Hoerder/Amarjit Kaur (eds.), Proletarian and Gendered Mass Migrations: A Global Perspective on Continuities and Discontinuities from the 19th to the 21st Centuries, Leiden/Boston 2013; Katherine M. Donato/Donna Gabaccia, Gender and International Migration. From the Slavery Era to the Global Age, New York 2015; Caroline B. Brettell, Gender and Migration, Cambridge/Malden 2016.
  105. Rachel Silvey, Power, Difference, and Mobility. Feminist Advances in Migration Studies, in: Progress in Human Geography 28 (2004), pp. 490-506, here p. 505.
  106. Susan W. Hardwick, Place, Space, and Pattern: Geographical Theories in International Migration, in: Brettell/Hollifield, Migration Theory, p. 212.
  107. Rita Chin, The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe: A History, Princeton 2017.
  108. See, for example, Katie Willis/Brenda Yeoh (eds.) Gender and Migration, Northampton 2000; Umut Erel, Migrant Women Transforming Citizenship: Life Stories from Britain and Germany 2009; Abdullahel Hadi, International Migration and the Change of Women's Position Among the Left – Behind in Rural Bangladesh, in: International Journal of Population 7 (2001) 1, pp. 53-61; Brenda Yeoh/Shirlena Huang/Katie Willis, Global Cities, Transnational Flows and Gender Dimensions. The View from Singapore, in: Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, pp.147-158; Rachel Silvey, Geographies of Gender and Migration. Spatializing Social Difference, in: The International Migration Review 40 (2006) 1, pp. 64-81.
  109. On the role of the visual for migration studies see Christoph Rass/Melanie Ulz (eds.), Migration ein Bild geben. Visuelle Aushandlungen von Diversität, Berlin 2018.
  110. Schrover/Yeo, Gender, Migration, p. 2.
  111. Hardwick, Place, Space, p. 217.
  112. Lässig/Steinberg, Knowledge on the Move, p. 342.
  113. Elisabetta Zontini, Resisting Fortress Europe. The everyday politics of female transnational migrants, in: Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 51 (2008), pp. 13-27.
  114. For literature see Cecilia Menjívar/Daniel Kanstroom (eds.), Constructing Immigrant “Illegality”. Critiques, Experiences, and Responses, New York 2014; Shahram Khosravi, “Illegal” Traveller. An Auto-Ethnography of Borders, Basingstoke 2010; Marlou Schrover/Joanne van der Leun/Leo Lucassen/Chris Quispel (eds.), Illegal Migration and Gender in a Global and Historical Perspective, Amsterdam 2008, online; Bill Jordan/Franck Duvell, Irregular Migration. The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility, Cheltenham 2002.
  115. Nicholas P. De Genova, Migrant “Illegality” and Deportability in Everyday Life, in: Annual Review of Anthropology 31 (2002), pp. 419-447.
  116. David Kyle/Rey Koslowski, Global Human Smuggling, Baltimore 2001.
  117. See Schrover/van der Leun/Lucassen/Quispel (eds.), Illegal Migration, p. 10.
  118. Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects. Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, Princeton/Oxford 2004, p. 2ff.
  119. See Adam M. McKeown, Melancholy Order. Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders, New York 2008. On the role of African Americans as a central component of immigration exclusion see, for example, Kitty Calavita, Immigration Law, Race and Identity, in: Annual Review of Law and Social Science 3 (2007) 1, pp. 1-20. For a newer approach on immigration restriction from a global perspective see Alison Bashford, Immigration Restriction. Rethinking Period and Place from Settler Colonies to Postcolonial Nations, in: Journal of Global History 9 (2014) 1, pp. 26-48.
  120. John Torpey, The Invention of the Passport. Surveillance, Citizenship and the State, Cambridge 2002.
  121. Schrover/van der Leun/Lucassen/Quispel (eds.), Illegal Migration, p. 19f.
  122. Ngai, Impossible Subjects; Douglas S. Massey, A Missing Element in Migration Theories, in: Migration Letters 12 (2015) 3, pp. 279-299; De Genova, Migrant “Illegality”.
  123. For example, in the context of trafficking, whereas women are often depicted as being trafficked, i.e., against their will, men are generally spoken of as being smuggled, i.e., with their consent, against payment and therefore retaining control of their own fates. This habitual portrayal of women as victims has often led to proactive state measures: in Bangladesh, Indonesia or Nepal, for example, emigration of women is either highly restricted or banned as a protective measure – sometimes protecting women, but also often restricting their choices. In any case, protection and punishment are unequally distributed between women and men. Schrover/van der Leun/Lucassen/Quispel (eds.), Illegal Migration.
  124. On the burgeoning literature on deportation see, for example, Bridget Anderson et al. (eds.), The Social, Political and Historical Contours of Deportation, New York 2011; Nicholas De Genova/Nathalie Peutz (Hg.), The Deportation Regime. Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement, Durham/London 2010; Heike Drohtbohm/Ines Hasselberg (eds.), Deportation, Anxiety, Justice. New Ethnographic Perspectives, London 2017.
  125. William Walters, Deportation, Expulsion, and the International Police of Aliens, in: Citizenship Studies Volume 6 (2002) 3, pp. 265-292.
  126. Nathalie Peutz, Embarking on an Anthropology of Removal, in: Cultural Anthropology 47 (2006) 2, pp. 217-241.
  127. Daniel Kanstroom, Deportation Nation. Outsiders in American History, Cambridge/London 2007, p. 5.
  128. Anderson et al., The Social, Political and Historical Contours of Deportation, p. 1.
  129. Peutz, Embarking on an Anthropology of Removal, p. 2018.
  130. Thom Davies et al., Violent Inaction. The Necropolitical Experience of Refugees in Europe, in: Antipode 49 (2017) 5, pp. 1263-1284.
  131. For newer future visions on questions of migration and mobility see Jacqueline Bhabha, Can We Solve the Migration Crisis? Cambridge 2018; Mimi Sheller, Mobility Justice. The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes, New York 2018.
  132. Joseph Nevins, The Right to the World, in: Antipode 49 (2017) 5, pp. 1349-1367.
  133. Nicholas De Genova, ‘We are of the connections’. Migration, Methodological Nationalism, and ‘Militant Research’, in: Postcolonial Studies 16 (2013) 3, pp. 250-258, here p. 250.