4th Edition

Migration Theory Talking across Disciplines

Edited By Caroline B. Brettell, James F. Hollifield Copyright 2023
    392 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    392 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The revised fourth edition of Migration Theory continues to offer a one-stop synthesis of contemporary thought on migration.

    Editors Caroline B. Brettell and James F. Hollifield remain committed to include coverage that is comparative and global in scope while enhancing similarities and differences between one academic field and the next. All chapters have been revised to highlight cutting-edge issues in the field of migration studies today. The fourth edition welcomes two new authors, Professors Marie Price and François Héran, to offer a fresh approach with their chapters on geography and demography, respectively.

    Designed for undergraduate and graduate courses in migration studies, a primary goal of the text is to assist instructors in guiding students who may have little background on migration, to understand important issues and the scientific debates. This ensures Migration Theory is a highly valuable guide not only to the perspectives of one's own discipline but also to those of cognate fields.

    Introduction. Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines

    Caroline B. Brettell and James F. Hollifield

    1. Historical Migration Studies: Time, Temporality, and Theory

    Donna R. Gabaccia

    2. Demography and Migration: The Wildcard in Population Dynamics

    François Héran

    3. Economic Aspects of Migration

    Philip Martin

    4. The Sociology of International Migration

    David Scott FitzGerald

    5. Theorizing Migration in Anthropology: The Cultural, Social, Phenomenological, and Embodied Dimensions of Human Mobility

    Caroline B. Brettell

    6. Geographical Theories of Migration: Exploring Scalar, Spatial and Placeful Dimensions of Human Mobility

    Marie Price

    7. The Politics of International Migration: How Can We Bring the State Back In?

    James F. Hollifield and Tom Wong

    8. Law and Migration: Constants, Challenges, and Changes

    David Abraham

    9. The State of Migration Theory: Challenges, Interdisciplinarity and Critique

    Adrian Favell


    Caroline B. Brettell is University Distinguished Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University. From 2012 to 2018, she served as the Founding Director of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    James F. Hollifield is Ora Nixon Arnold Professor of International Political Economy and Director of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University. He is also a member of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC, and Fellow at the French Institute for Advanced Studies in Paris (2021–22).

    "This latest edition of one of the essential texts in migration studies offers updated and expanded discussions of the state of the literature in the field’s constituent disciplines. The introductory and concluding chapters are testament to the rapid evolution of migration studies and take seriously the challenge posed by critical migration studies to the field’s mainstream. This is a must-read and will be an indispensable reference book for both new and established scholars of migration."

    Antje Ellermann, Professor, The University of British Columbia

    "This volume is a heroic and unique attempt to bridge disciplinary and conceptual boundaries in migration studies. Although different approaches and theories enrich the field, we need more agreement on the nature of the phenomenon we are trying to understand. ‘Talking across disciplines’ makes a persuasive case for structured comparisons, in time, space and scale and as such is a crucial intervention that helps us to accumulate knowledge in a more systematic, efficient and encompassing way."

    Leo Lucassen, Director of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam, Professor in Global Labour and Migration History, Leiden University

    "Understanding migration requires insight into movement across geographies, economic drivers and impacts, change over time, social and cultural integration, as well as law and states’ power to enforce or open borders. Brettell and Hollifield bring together field experts and cogent syntheses to celebrate interdisciplinarity, highlighting how key questions, methods, and theoretical tool-kits can be complementary or stand apart. They seek to end such distances, and do a truly admirable job. Anyone interested in migration, whether a new or seasoned scholar, will learn from this impressive book."

    Irene Bloemraad, Faculty Director, University of California Berkeley

    "Now in its 4th edition, Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines has established itself has the indispensable guide to understanding how various disciplines approach the movement of people. While achieving a seamless unified theory across history, anthropology, sociology, demography, economics, political science, geography, and legal studies might be asking too much, especially given the significant range of approaches even within these disciplines, the goal is a laudable one. Brettell and Hollified provide scholars at all levels well-crafted summaries of scholarship in these various disciplines. In a field of study as broad as migration, this is a valuable resource when contemplating the "cutting edge" of current research, which will influence future research. Migration Theory is essential for scholars seeking to find their comparative advantage in the study of migration."

    Leo Chavez, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Irvine