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Migration : 1st Global Conference

01/04/2017 - 03/04/2017


Migration has defined our age perhaps more than any other single issue, as the 20th and 21st centuries have been characterized by prolonged global mobility on a massive scale. Total estimates of the number of migrants, both international and internal, vary widely but the United Nations puts the number at approximately 300 million. The scale of this global migration and its effects are reshaping the world to the extent that in many areas, this level of mobility has created a new ‘normal’ or status quo that challenges the idea of the nation state and old notions of collective core identities and mainstream cultures.

Migration is routinely associated with crisis, and here, the current Syrian refugee crisis comes to mind but it is by no means the only one. Other examples of crisis migration include those connected with political uprisings, wars, famine and other environmental disasters, and various global socio-economic crises in a broad range of locations that are not isolated to one single area of the world. However, crisis is not the sole factor in determining who migrates and how. The movement of these roughly 300 million individuals, living temporarily or permanently outside their place of birth, is motivated by a heterogeneous set of circumstances. So, while some are forced to flee their homes due to conflict or disaster, others leave their homes as part of the international flow of labour in increasingly globalized economies in order to escape poverty. Some leave home not because of an acute crisis but, rather, in order to pursue opportunities in education and employment. And a relatively small group of individuals with sufficient wealth/privilege constitute a kind of transnational class of global vagabonds and migrate at will for leisure as long-term visitors/‘expats,’ with some choosing to retire in their adopted homes. Thus, for some (for example, international refugees, exiles, and IDPs or internally displaced persons), migration is a forced, violent displacement that is accompanied by the psychological trauma of the loss of one’s home/homeland, while for others it is a much more mundane necessity or even a voluntary pleasure.

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Jonathan Rollins


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Cultures, Traditions, Societies


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