Migrant Professionals in the City: Local Encounters, Identities and Inequalities, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Migrant Professionals in the City

Local Encounters, Identities and Inequalities, 1st Edition

Edited by Lars Meier


262 pages | 22 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415793087
pub: 2016-12-20
Hardback: 9780415713030
pub: 2014-08-01
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The migration of professionals is widely seen as a paradigmatic representation and a driver of globalization. The global elite of highly qualified migrants—managers and scientists, for example—are partly defined by their lives’ mobility. But their everyday lives are based and take place in specific cities. The contributors of this book analyze the relevance of locality for a mobile group and provide a new perspective on migrant professionals by considering the relevance of social identities for local encounters in socially unequal cities. Contributors explore shifting identities, senses of belonging, and spatial and social inequalities and encounters between migrant professionals and ‘Others’ within the cities. These qualitative studies widen the understanding of the importance of local aspects for the social identities of those who are in many aspects more privileged than others.


Lars Maier has edited a timely, insightful and well-written volume exploring the interplay between locality and the social identities of ‘migrant professionals’.

The greatest value of the book might be in showing us how rarely we see the city from the perspective of those who are privileged in this particular way and how important it is to include such accounts in studies of inequality in cities. The book should be read as a timely reminder that in our continuing focus on the disadvantaged, we might have forgotten to reformulate the city from the perspective of those dwellers who are privileged in certain ways. Only with the privileged as well as the disadvantaged in mind will we be able to grasp cities’ contemporary inequalities more comprehensively.

Ana Aceska, Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands – Reviewer for the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

A masterful collection for students of globalization, global migration, and social inequality in comparative urban settings…This edited collection is extraordinarily well organized and well written, and it offers copious insights into the per-sonal and professional lives of highly mobile and highly skilled professionals who are migrants to twelve specific urban locations…By focusing on professional, highly mobile migrants, this book pointedly draws our attention to the issue of class in analyzing global migration flows. These accounts, largely neglected in other studies, add much to our understanding of migrants but also, importantly, to our understanding of social inequality in cities.

Robert E. Parker, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, USA – Reviewer for Contemporary Sociology

This book is a must-read for the student of spatial studies, migration, transnationalism, and social inequalities. It breaks away from the dominant academic paradigm of immigrants’ integration into the host society, to examine the settlement experience of ‘migrant professionals’ […]. The value of the book also lies in its exploration of a gamut of direct experiences of the city in which social networks are locally formed, used, and reproduced, and the rich insights gleaned from the migrant professional’s exposure to the interplay of locality and social identity. What stands out is the sensitive portrayal of feelings of confusion and isolation, and a sense of not belonging anywhere, highlighting instances where the self feels ‘othered’ by the host society while simultaneously ‘othering’ the local, deeming it ‘different’. It is this thread of marginalization, teased out from a pastiche of responses to living life in liminal spaces that renders this collection lustrous.

Mini Chandran Kurian, University of Edinburgh, UK – Reviewer for Sociological Research Online

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Local Lives, Work and Social Identities of Migrant Professionals in the City Lars Meier Part I: Considerations of the City 2. Further Stay or Return?: Insights from the Highly Educated Turkish Migrants in Amsterdam, Barcelona and London Zeynep Yanasmayan 3. Seeing "Difference" Differently: Life Trajectories of Professional Migrants’ Children in Melbourne, Australia and in Singapore Gabrielle Désilets 4. Learning the City by Experiences and Images: German Finance Managers’ Encounters in London and Singapore Lars Meier Part II: Local Incorporation and Work 5. Agents of Local Incorporation: Skilled Migrant Organizations in Oslo, Norway Micheline van Riemsdijk 6. Germany for the Ambitious: Everyday Life of Russian Professionals in a Research Centre in Jülich Volha Vysotskaya 7. Socializing Spouses in Gabon: The Petroleum Wives’ Club of Port-Gentil Lisa Toccafondi Shutt Part III: Local Encounters and Identities 8. Are Professional Migrants Elite?: The Case of Japanese Expatriate and Host National Employees in Jakarta Yukimi Shimoda 9. "Londres Accueil": Mediations of Identity and Place Amongst the French Highly Skilled in London Jon Mulholland and Louise Ryan 10. Mining Minerals on the Moon and Other Fantasies of Extreme Expatriate Intervention in Kathmandu, Nepal Heather Hindman 11. Translocal Lives: Polish Migrant Entrepreneurs in the Cities of the West Midlands, UK Catherine Harris 12. Cosmopolitans or New Americans?: The Experiences and Social Identities of Colombian and Puerto Rican Software Engineers in Boston’s Route 128 Lina Rincón 13. British Transnational (Be)longing: Emplacement in the Life of Skilled Migrants in Dubai Katie Walsh

About the Editor

Lars Meier is Lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the Technical University of Berlin.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Sociology

This series presents cutting-edge developments and debates within the field of sociology. It provides a broad range of case studies and the latest theoretical perspectives, while covering a variety of topics, theories and issues from around the world. It is not confined to any particular school of thought.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban