Trajectories and Imaginaries in Migration : The Migrant Actor in Transnational Space book cover
1st Edition

Trajectories and Imaginaries in Migration
The Migrant Actor in Transnational Space

ISBN 9780367478971
Published January 14, 2020 by Routledge
228 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book draws attention to the various factors that characterize migrant flows and mobilities, calling into question familiar concepts such as push and pull, migration as a life project and sociocultural integration. It highlights processes such as fl exible migrant routes, temporary and return migration, mental aspects of migration processes and transnationalism, which are organised around the themes of shaping trajectories, frictions in space, and the migrant mental framework. It brings together work from scholars from Europe and beyond, with the contributions collected emphasizing the social and mental processes that underpin the migratory process, which can be seen as the ‘soft side’ of migration. Too often, this side is neglected when the governance of migration is discussed. The novel ideas expressed here also help to overcome the mechanistic view of migration as a push-pull event. Thus, the book suggests a different understanding of migration and mobility as relational, non-linear and fluid social processes, characterized by instability in migrant life trajectories. Emphasizing the fl exibility of migrants and migration and advocating the importance of emotionally charged, individual perceptions as central to migrant decision-making, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, anthropology, politics and geography with interests in migration and diaspora studies.

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes

Series Editor’s Preface


List of Abbreviations

List of Foreign Words and Phrases

Notes on Contributors

1. Prologue (Felicitas Hillmann and Ton van Naerssen)

Part I: Shaping Trajectories

2. On wayfaring and transporting: Understanding the mobility trajectories of African migrants in Europe (Joris Schapendonk)

3. Migrant trajectories within the context of demographic, socio-economic and environmental change: Evidence from coastal Ghana (Usha Ziegelmayer and Ernst Spaan)

4. South-South migrant trajectories: African traders in China as guoke (Ding Yuan and Ching Lin Pang)

Part II: Frictions in Spaces

5. Unravelling the legal consciousness of deportation policies through women’s bushfalling narratives in Anglophone Cameroon (Maybritt Jill Alpes)

6. Moving across juridical territories in Europe: Migrants under humanitarian protection (Giulia Borri)

7. Moving home: Bolivian return migration from Spain in times of crisis (Gery Nijenhuis)

Part III: Modifying the Migrant Mental Framework

8. Mobilities and mindsets: Locating imagination in transnational migrations (David Kyle, Saara Koikkalainen and Tanaya Dutta Gupta)

9. Gazing into the distance: Thresholds of mobility in migrants’ lifeworlds (Lothar Smith, Martin van der Velde and Ton van Naerssen)

10. Does policy matter? Journeys to Europe and the dynamics of migration decision-making (Richard Mallett and Jessica Hagen-Zanker)

11. Academic mobility and identities: Stories from (ethnic) Chinese students and scholars en Route (Maggi Leung and Rika Theo)

12. Epilogue: Mobilities in migration (Ton van Naerssen and Felicitas Hillmann)


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Felicitas Hillmann is head of the Research Unit Regeneration of Cities at the Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Germany and holds a professorship on Urban Transformation in International Perspective at Technische Universität in Berlin, Germany.

Ton van Naerssen is an associate member of the Nijmegen Centre for Border Research (NCBR) at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Ernst Spaan is an assistant professor at Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, and an affiliated lecturer in courses on international migration and development at the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


"The book does what it promises: it focuses its reader’s attention on the increasing variety and flexibility of current migration flows, both voluntary and forced, and considers their interconnections. The book discusses migration as a global phenomenon. The definite advantage of the book is its global focus, and inclusion in the analysis the localities and local knowledge of migration outside of Europe. The empirical work discussed by the authors is insightful."

Tiina Sotkasiira, University of Eastern Finland, Nordic Journal of Migration