07 February 2012

Circular, career, chain and local migration

I'm part way into reading the 2010 book Arrival City by Toronto journalist Doug Saunders. Early, on page 46, Saunders discusses migration in terms of a more nuanced analysis, due to Charles Tilly, than simple push and pull factors where migration happens as the grass is seen to be greener on the other side of the hill.

The diagram from Tilly's 1976 paper Migration  in Modern European History, according to Google it's frequently cited, shows four migration types in terms of the commitment to the change and the distance involved. Simple mobility, such as moving to a different house on the same street, is also shown. It might also involve regularly communting long distances to work in a distant community, even to another continent.
Circular migration might have a seasonal pattern, such as involved with moving grazing herds from low to high altitude pastures, or Dorset fishermen going to Newfoundland for the summer fishing. Chain migration involves a person pioneering a migration of a larger group from the same origin community. Career migration might be a move to a location of greater opportunity for the skill or profession. These three involve a distinct break from the place of origin, if only temporary for Circular, whereas with Local migration the distance and cultural break are less marked.
It might be worth thinking about where migrations in your family fall in this classification scheme in writing a family history.

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