Team 2 - Migration, power, development

This page is also available in français Español
JPEG - 124.1 KiB

Team leaders


Research themes

Team problematics: power relations, interactions and practices of migration actors

Our research deals with the links between migration and development based on a multidisciplinary reflection on the different actors of migration: the migrant, his family, his groups of belonging, the networks, the States and institutions as responsible for migration policies, the civil society organizations involved in the process of negotiating norms, and the trafficking networks.
The practices (social, cultural, linguistic, demographic, economic, political, legal, educational) of these actors constitute the privileged object of study of our analyses. We pay particular attention to the relations of power and/or inequalities between actors, to the study of the production of norms and values involving different areas of society (health, education, religion, economy, resource management, politics, legal environment) and to the skills and strategies developed by the actors of migration.
We analyze how migrants mobilize the material and symbolic resources of their social capital, as well as of their territories of origin, transit and reception. We study how migration can transcend borders, physical, socio-spatial, legal and ideological discontinuities, by building new real, virtual and cultural spaces.

Actors in a context
The analysis of migratory practices must be placed in the current context of a globalized world where human mobility is an issue, a skill or a resource. In an interconnected world, people, information and norms circulate more rapidly and in a more diversified way. They are vectors of change in both the South and the North. The movement of migrants is subject to controls, including administrative and sanitary controls, which require us to take into account the legal and political, and not only the social and economic, dimensions of the phenomena under study. The influence of migrants, which varies from place to place, also produces contrasting effects on the power relations between and within the host, transit and origin countries. We examine this influence by studying the functioning of development associations, diasporic networks, social mobilities, political commitments and economic investments.

Methodologies articulating the scales of analysis (micro, meso, macro)
From a multidisciplinary perspective, our research on migration relies on a large corpus combining quantitative databases, qualitative and multi-site surveys, ethnographies, biographies, and analyses of the discourses, practices, and norms conveyed by the actors concerned. This richness of the corpus mobilized allows for in-depth research by varying the scales of analysis: from the micro level (individuals), meso (family, community, networks, civil society organizations), to the macro level (public policies, institutions) of the different actors of migration.
Ceped’s axis 2 is led by a team of social science researchers, specialists in migration and developing worlds from several disciplines: demographers, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, linguists, lawyers and political scientists.

Our fields of investigation
Our research is conducted in a variety of geographical areas (Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, the United States, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, overseas territories, Europe, etc.). Our research focuses as much on the countries of origin of migrants as on those of reception or transit, from the perspective of South-North, North-South and South-South analysis of migration.

The main themes

The work carried out within Axis 2 covers a broad field: contexts and determinants of different types of migration (for study, work, family, elite, forced...), the impact of migration on demography and development, on the economy, on consumption practices, on the family and social dynamics of migrants, on access to rights for minors, on power relations (conflicts, solidarity, dependence, justice). The projects currently developed are based on four main themes:

1. Social actors and migration networks
If the decision to leave or to stay belongs to the migrant, his/her individual trajectory and choices are largely determined by his/her family and social environment. The latter, made up of networks of relatives and acquaintances, evolves throughout the migration process and depends on cultural, social, economic, religious, legal and political constraints. Our research projects analyze the particular constitution of these social networks during the migration of the actors, and the social and family relations in situation of migration. More specifically, we analyze the influence of factors such as age, gender or origin of migrants on social networks, family, social and professional dynamics or transnational practices (investment in the country of origin, monetary transfers...). We question the emergence or persistence of social and family ties at a distance.

2. Circulation of ideas, norms and practices
The circulation of migrants is subject to a series of social, cultural, economic, legal and political controls by societies of departure, arrival and transit and by transnational organizations with divergent interests. Our approach aims to analyze the relationship between the structuring of these unequal power relations and the way norms emerge, are negotiated, propagated, transformed and contested. The production and circulation of norms and knowledge are thus approached from a dynamic perspective, based on four main dimensions: a political approach (opinions, migrant associations, activism), a legal approach (public policies, normative texts, jurisprudence), a socio-economic approach (consumption practices) and a linguistic approach (contacts of languages and discourses)

3. Mobilizations and powers
Our research also focuses on issues of commitment and collective action, with attention to activist paths, political struggles and mobilizations, and the roles of civil society and humanitarian aid organizations, especially when they are linked to movements of population displacement. They study these issues in routine situations, but also and especially in situations of political crisis and conflict, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Syria or the armed insurgency launched by Boko Haram. Our approach favors an analysis in terms of registers of action and practices, life narratives and the making of sense of action, and finally forms of governance, exploring in particular the competitive investments and tensions that collective action and migrations generate.

4. Migratory paths, narratives and discourses
The approach to language through narratology, discourse analysis or the observation of language as a social practice constitutes a new field in the study of migration in France. The questioning of the modes of production of discourses on migration and by migrants themselves, leads to a rethinking of the socio-cultural contexts and the place of researchers in the production of these discourses. The description of the language resources of migrants and their exploitation in various contexts shows the major stakes that linguistic questions represent for them in relation to access to rights and justice.


Post-doctorates and Junior researchers (4)

Research support (2)

Trainees (1)

Team’s research fields

Research projects