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Team 2 - Migration, power, development

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Team leaders

TEMPORAL Franck et PETIT Véronique

Research themes

Research topic: The interactions and practices of actors of migration

Our research address the links between migration and development, based on multidisciplinary reflections on the different actors of migration: the migrant, his family, his group, the networks, the governments and institutions as actors responsible for migration policies, the civil society organisation involved in the negotiation process of norms, trafficking or slave trade networks.
Our analyses are specifically focused on the practices (social, cultural, demographic, economic, political, legal, educational) of these actors. We explore in particular the relationships of authority and/or inequality between actors, the production of norms and values involving different areas of the society (health, education, economics, resource management, policy, environment legal) and the skills and strategies developed by the actors during migration.

Actors in context
The analysis of these practices must consider the current context of a globalized world where human mobility, having reaching an unprecedented level, may become an issue, a skill or resource. In an interconnected world, men, information and norms circulate; they are sources of issues and changes, both in the South and? in the North. The flow of migrants and of their groups is subject to control, which requires taking into account the legal and political dimensions of the study of migration processes, as complementary to its social and economic dimensions. Actors of migration have the capacity of transforming institutional, legal, social and cultural constraints into opportunities in their societies, which imparts great “power” to them. The influence of migrants, which varies depending on location, produces contrasting effects on power relationships with the host country, the country of transit and the country of origin (and between each other), ranging from strengthening the interests of elites to their dispute. As part of development associations, migrants can indeed help transform social hierarchies based on new criteria of legitimacy (education, skills, knowledge of networks), which, combined with other older criteria, now become involved in the management of common interests in the societies concerned. Such restructuring raises questions about the construction of a public space, facing a variety of stakeholders across different geographical locations and among which flows a range of influences, norms and languages.

Methodologies articulating micro, meso, and macro scales of analysis
This development-oriented research of migration is based on a broad multidisciplinary corpus that combines quantitative and qualitative survey databases and analytical discourses and norms conveyed by the actors involved. This wealth in the corpus mobilized allows extensive research and variations in scales of analysis: from the micro (individual), meso (family, community, networks, civil society organizations), to the macro approach (public policy, institutions) of the various actors of migration.
Axis 2 of Ceped is largely multidisciplinary; it involved a team of social scientists, specialists of migration and of the developing world from various disciplinary traditions: demographers, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, linguists, lawyers.
Taking advantage of the contribution of these related disciplines, research projects developed within Axis 2 combine quantitative and qualitative analyses and offer a comprehensive and interdisciplinary perspective on the “migration and development” field.

Our research settings

This research theme is investigated within diverse geographical areas (Africa, Latin America, Asia, Middle East, USA, Caribbean, Indian Ocean, French overseas territories, Europe, etc.), including the countries of origin of migrants, as well as the host or transit countries, with the aim of analyzing South-North, North-South and South-South migrations.

The trajectories of migrants and of norms are analyzed in a dynamic perspective: departures, arrivals, returns, new beginnings, flow, transit.
The scope of work carried out within Axis 2 is wide: determinants and contexts of different types of migration (to study, work, family, of the elite, forced...), impact of migration on population and development, economy, migration patterns, family and social dynamics of migrants, power relationships (conflicts, solidarity, dependence) between the different actors of migration, flow of norms and discourses.
Current projects developed by researchers of axis 2 are organized around three main themes:

1. Families and networks:
If decisions to leave or stay belong to the migrant, her/his individual trajectory and choices are largely part of her/his family and social environment. This social environment, composed of kinship and acquaintance networks, evolves throughout the migratory journey and depends on cultural, social, economic, legal and political constrains. Our research projects analyze the particular composition of these social networks during migration, and the social and family relationships during migration situation. Specifically, we analyze the influence of factors such as the age, gender or origin of migrants on social networks, family dynamics, social and professional or also transnational practices (investments in the country of origin, remittances...). We question the emergence or persistence of social and family ties remotely.

2. Norms and knowledge:
Migration flows are subject to a series of social, cultural, economic, legal and political controls within the societies of departure, arrival and transit, and within the transnational organizations that have different interests. Our approach is to analyze the relationships between the structuring of these unequal power relations and how norms are built, disseminated or disputed. The production and flow of norms and knowledge are thus addressed from a dynamic perspective, with three main dimensions: political (opinions, association of migrants, activism), legal (public policy, normative documents) and linguistic (speech, language practices, narratives).

3. Spaces:
Migration is mainly defined as a movement in space, it transforms the spaces travelled by the different actors. We analyze how migrants mobilize the resources of their territories of origin, of transit and arrival during their migratory journey and how new spaces, real, virtual, or cultural emerge. We consider space in its triple dimension “conceived, perceived and experienced” (Lefebvre), and study how migration can transcend boundaries, physical, spatial and socio-legal discontinuities. Our research investigates these multiple linkages between migration and space by adopting inventive and reflexive methodologies able to account for the dynamics of practices (multi-situated ethnography and surveys, multilingual practices, etc.).


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