Nations, Cities and Organizations
The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development
Edited by Maddy Janssens, Myriam Bechtoldt, Arie de Ruijter, Dino Pinello, Giovanni Prarolo and Vanja M.K. Stenius
Chapter 12: Migration in the Czech Republic: A Source of Social Diversity and Formation of New Social Networks in the Urban Environment
Zdenek Uherek 12.1 INTRODUCTION The location choices of migrants in a city or country have been addressed by a number of scholars in the past. According to the Chicago School of Sociology every resident of a city attempts to occupy the most advantageous position in the city area and such a position reflects his/her social success. The more successful a migrant is the more she would reside closer to prestigious locations in the centre of the city, where property is more expensive. The theory implicitly assumes that individuals and families choose the place of their stay completely independently, regardless of their relatives and acquaintances, and that everybody shares the same needs and aspirations, which in turn implies that each individual considers the ‘centre’ of the town to be in the same place (Burgess, 1925). Other theories have considered alternative explanations, for instance drawing attention to the role of migration networks. According to these theories, migration networks lower the investment which the migrant must put into adaptation in the target area, into arranging housing, work and further necessities. As has been shown, migration networks live their own lives after their creation. They often stop being merely a means of adaptation and integration but can also become one of the reasons for migration (Light et al., 1989). This chapter discusses these theories in the light of new empirical evidence from the Czech Republic and its capital, Prague. In what follows, we first discuss the spatial distribution of foreigners in the Czech Republic....
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