Migration (Paperback) book cover


By Michael Samers

© 2010 – Routledge

374 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415776660
pub: 2009-11-30
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pub: 2009-11-30
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pub: 2009-12-07
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In the context of global security concerns, humanitarian crises and skill shortages migration and immigration have become central to economic, political and social debates at the beginning of the twenty-first century. And while migration and immigration have certainly not escaped the attention of social scientists, the study of both remains the most ‘under-serviced’ academic domain with respect to introductory texts. It is not surprising then that even fewer books have explored the contours of these social phenomena from an explicitly geographical perspective – in other words, in terms of ‘space’, ‘place’ and ‘scale’.

Migration is an advanced, yet accessible, introduction to migration and immigration in a global context. It offers a critical, multi-disciplinary approach to the subject, borrowing from human geography, political science, social anthropology and sociology. However, unlike other broad volumes on the subject, it emphasizes a theoretical and conceptual approach to the study of migration. Specifically, Migration adopts a unique geographical approach by employing spatial concepts such as place, scale and territory. Using these spatial concepts, the author argues that most studies of migration begin with either an undue emphasis on nation-states as a lens on migration or on the contrary rely on exaggerated notions of transnationalism. Migration neither neglects the importance of nation states nor the significance of transnationalism, but it focuses on how local contexts matter to migration. The book covers such topics as migration categories, the explanation of different forms of migration, migration and employment, the geopolitics of migration and immigration and citizenship, rights, and belonging.

This text is not simply an encyclopaedic overview of migration theories, trends and facts; rather, it is designed to have lasting intellectual value by providing particular arguments in each theme-based chapter. While it advocates certain arguments, it is also clearly written in an engaging and accessible manner for an undergraduate audience. Its clear structure is complemented by a combination of pedagogical features, such as case-study boxes, summary questions at the end of each chapter and a glossary. The book is designed for courses and modules on migration and immigration at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and both students and academics will find it exceptionally useful.


Given the contemporary salience and topicality of issues around international migration, this book represents an original and critical contribution to debates. Unusually, it examines migration through an explicit engagement with spatial perspectives, yet at the same time draws upon and brings together literature from a number of different disciplines, making it an appealing and highly valuable resource for a wide and varied audience. Johanna L. Waters, University of Liverpool, UK

In a market dominated by texts by anthropologists, economists, political scientists, and sociologists, such a contribution is long overdue. Samers’s sensitive treatments of concepts such as the friction of distance, context, and scale cast new light on terms like transnationalism and social networks as well as on the practices that compel people to leave home to try to make a life for themselves and their families elsewhere. Richard Wright, Dartmouth College, USA

Migration explores the local contexts shaping migrants' lives by going beyond - and beneath - the usual national statistics and transnational flows. As a conceptual roadmap to the ever-expanding migration literature, it should be essential reading for both established scholars and those new to migration studies. Deirdre McKay, Keele University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Explaining Migration Across International Borders 3. Geographies of Migration and Work 4. Geo-Political Economies of Migration Control 5. Geographies of Migration, Citizenship and Belonging 6. Conclusions

About the Author

Michael Samers is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Kentucky. His research interests include the urban and economic dimensions of migration, as well as Islamic banking. He is the co-author with Noel Castree, Neil Coe, and Kevin Ward of Spaces of Work: global capitalism and geographies of labour.

About the Series

Key Ideas in Geography

The Key Ideas in Geography series will provide strong, original, and accessible texts on important spatial concepts for academics and students working in the fields of geography, sociology and anthropology, as well as the interdisciplinary fields of urban and rural studies, development and cultural studies. Each text will locate a key idea within its traditions of thought, provide grounds for understanding its various usages and meanings, and offer critical discussion of the contribution of relevant authors and thinkers.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography