This chapter explores the ways migration affects well-being and mental health and elaborates on the health outcomes of migration founded in the relations of biology, structure, and culture. An exposure to socio-economic and psychological stressors in destination countries can inform mental disorders among immigrant populations including higher rates of psychosis and common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Navigating broader structures that undermine psychological well-being and mental health in destination countries, immigrants draw on culture that defines how individuals and communities relate to mental distress and shapes their help-seeking behaviors. This chapter argues that aspirations and hope are essential to well-being and positive mental health and provide immigrants with the motivation to work towards the realization of their potential and support positive thinking. Analytical attention to aspirations helps us to move beyond structural vulnerability frameworks that essentialize minority population groups and towards a better understanding of how immigrants cope, adapt and maintain well-being.
Jemima Nomunume Baada
Extreme poverty and worsening environmental conditions have led to poor livelihood outcomes among agrarian communities in the Upper West Region (UWR) of Ghana, with most residents migrating to the Brong-Ahafo Region (BAR) as a coping strategy. These migrations are becoming permanent which has resulted in the relocation of entire nuclear families. Despite these trends, no studies have looked at the gendered dynamics of reproduction among migrants in destination regions. Using qualitative methods, I explore the experiences of cultural and social reproduction among migrant women in BAR. My findings reveal that migrant women are concerned about limited support in childcare, the absence of parental figures to maintain social control, generational culture loss, and the loss of resources, particularly land, due to migration. Interestingly, these concerns, though raised by women, centre on the effects on male actors. The findings highlight the implications of increasing agrarian migrations on the reproduction of inequalities.
Alexandra C. Tuggle and Douglas E. Crews
Migration is a disruptive event with multiple implications for health. Stressors, including family separation, acculturation, job insecurity, restricted mobility, stigmatization, and marginalization shape immigrant health in complex ways. Here we examine physiological responses to migration and settlement. We then review existing research on stress, acculturation, and how allostatic load, a measure of total physiological dysregulation, varies among migrants. Migration and acculturation to a new destination are biologically and culturally embedded processes, as are stress and allostatic responses. We propose a bioethnographic approach to assessing migrant health. Therein, we pair objectively assessed health profiles with ethnographic narratives of migration, allowing us to illustrate risks migrants face. This methodology allows us to discern multiple pathways by which migration challenges current and future health and how social and cultural factors may mitigate these effects. We propose incorporating physiological biomarkers of allostatic load with migrants’ narratives of their migration to unravel complex relationships between acculturation and health.
Edited by Jeffrey H. Cohen and Ibrahim Sirkeci
Jeffrey H. Cohen and Ibrahim Sirkeci
Despite the debates and an ever expanding literature, migration remains an exceptional process that has long interested scholars (Spencer 2011: 6). Yet, despite ongoing debates and improved theories, much of the research on contemporary migration continues to echo Ravenstein’s laws of migration (1889) and emphasise the economic logic of mobility. And while the economic foundation of migration and migration decision-making is a critical element if we are to understand human mobility, it is not the only or potentially the most important of drivers. There is a myriad of influences beyond jobs and wages as noted in the literature (e.g. De Jong and Graefe 2008; Fussell and Massey 2004). Humans move for many reasons, and perhaps the most important point we make in this collection is also the most simple: culture (of migration) matters. The decisions that movers make are founded in culture and social practice and over time, patterns emerge in a population’s sojourns. The patterns that come to characterise migration pathways are defined in the discussions that movers and potential movers have with their families and friends and determined by their access to resources as well as the securities and insecurities that are present at points of origin and destination (Cohen and Sirkeci 2011, 2016; Sirkeci 2009).
Judith Adler Hellman
When teaching fieldwork methods or counselling students, I encourage them to hope for at least one stunning surprise every day they spend in the field because research is not about selectively scooping up bits of evidence to demonstrate or prove the validity of a predictive framework, and were the world that we set forth to study populated with research subjects who could be relied upon to offer up what we might “hope” to find, then there would be no need for us to engage in research at all. Formulating open questions and embracing surprise allows the researcher to distinguish the elements in people’s lives that they can alter or control from those that are fixed, in short, the difference between structure and agency. In this chapter, I reflect on some of the totally unexpected findings that have emerged in the course of fieldwork that I began in 1967 and continue to carry out today.
Deniz Eroğlu-Utku and Pınar Yazgan
In this study, we examine the Conflict Model of Migration as a Social Theory for migration scholars. This Social theory presents ‘perception’ as a tool for analysis; therefore, we aim to unpack this tool. This study asks how this tool can be intersectionally transformed into a field study model useful for micro-level analyses. We will discuss how perceptions of conflict and human insecurity can be utilised in the studies of human mobility by digging perceived insecurity of migrants and the dispositions of the researchers who investigate this.
Markus Kotzur and Leonard Amaru Feil
Starting from the premise that migration is a conflictual field and therefore requires (legal) management, this essay examines the potential of human rights for managing migration phenomena. A central conflict lies in the apparent contradiction between freedom of movement assured by human rights and the right of self-determination of peoples, which is also based on human rights and forms the basis for democratic sovereignty. Based on such an understanding of sovereignty, which is at the service of humanity, human rights can be used to spell out a differentiated system of belonging to political communities. Since international human rights have an impact on state and non-state actors at the national and the international level, they can comprehensively capture migration phenomena and help to establish responsibilities to protect human rights in the context of migration. In this way, they can provide guidance for the management ahead of migratory movements, while migration happens and in the aftermath of migration.
Martina Cvajner and Giuseppe Sciortino
Our paper surveys the growing body of academic literature that explores the sexual lives of migrants and the role of sexual boundaries in the migration process. We argue the systematic study of the sexual dimension of mobility can provide an important contribution to better understanding the migration experience. In recent decades, a series of important works have presented important analyses of the relationship between migration and sexual change. While they have succeeded in making visible the sexual dimension of migration, they have failed to coalesce into a recognizable research program. Nevertheless, it has never coalesced, however, into a systematic research program. We develop a conceptual framework around three theoretical perspectives: first, sexual migration, or the role of sexual aspirations in motivating specific forms of mobility; second, the sexuality of migration, or the sexual changes in practices, narratives and norms caused by the migration experience; and finally, the evolution of “lovescapes,” or the changes brought by migration to new and different collective systems of social expectations that structure erotic life.