Theorising Transnational Migration: The Status Paradox of Migration (Hardback) book cover

Theorising Transnational Migration

The Status Paradox of Migration

By Boris Nieswand

© 2012 – Routledge

200 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

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Societal transformations have recently stimulated political debates and policies on the integration of migrants and minorities in most Western European countries. While transnational migration studies have documented migrants’ cross-border activities there have been few empirically grounded efforts to theorise these developments in the framework of integration and status theory.

Based on a case study of Ghanaian migrants, this book seeks to understand integration processes and develops a theorem of the status paradox of migration which explores the interaction between migrants’ integration into the receiving country and the maintained inclusion into the sending society. It describes a characteristic problem for a large class of labour migrants from the global south who gain status in the sending countries by simultaneously losing it in the receiving countries of migration. This transnational dynamic of status attainment, which goes along with specifically national forms of status inconsistency, is what is called the status paradox of migration.

By bringing together two modes of national status incorporation within one framework, the status paradox provides an innovative perspective on migration processes and demonstrates the usefulness of a transnationalist integration theory. This book will be of interest to students and scholars of migration, transnationalism, politics, sociology and anthropology.


"Nieswand’s book deals with global inequality analysed with the right balance or distance between celebratory readings of transnational migration and the portraits of migrants as victims caught in the double suffering of the global regime of power. In his analytical perspective, the author recognises migrants’ agency without underrating the weight of transnational inequality. This book is a must for anthropologists, sociologists and any scholar interested in migration studies." - Bruno Riccio, University of Bologna

"The book masterfully trounces usual reception barriers by bringing anthropological observation and analysis to the attention of the sociologists and political theorists/philosophers who otherwise might not have exposure to them. The particular value I see in this lies in the assistance it could provide to scholars of status theory and status analysis (…) turning their consideration to status at a transnational and international level." -Anthony R. Boese, University of St. Andrews

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Migration and Society 2. Ghana and its Migrants 3. Processes of Localisation 4. Processes of Transnationalisation 5. The Status Paradox of Migration. Conclusion

About the Author

Boris Nieswand is a social anthropologist and sociologist. He currently works as a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen (Germany). He has published on transnational migration, charismatic Christianity, the construction of diaspora and ethnography.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Transnationalism

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Subject Categories

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