Handbook of the International Political Economy of Migration
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Migration

Edited by Leila Simona Talani and Simon McMahon

This Handbook discusses theoretical approaches to migration studies in general, as well as confronting various issues in international migration from a distinctive international political economy perspective. It examines migration as part of a global political economy whilst addressing the theoretical debate relating to the capacity of the state to control international migration and the so called ‘policy gap’ or ‘gap hypothesis’ between migration policies and their outcomes.
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Chapter 14: The political economy of migration from the MENA area before and after the Arab Spring: the case of Tunisia and Egypt

Leila Simona Talani


In December 2010, the Arab world was swept away by a wave of demonstrations that became soon known as the ‘Arab Spring’. Many of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region countries have since witnessed more or less violent riots. Two of the countries which actually underwent true regime changes, often referred to as revolutions, are Tunisia and Egypt, hence the focus of this chapter on these two North African countries. These are also two of the countries which experienced an increase in mass migration, not only as a consequence of the events of the Arab Spring, but also beforehand. The theoretical analysis discussed in Chapter 1 of this volume allows us to identify in the economic marginalisation of the MENA area, and in its lack of political and economic integration, a relevant political economy factor for recent waves of mass migration. From the theoretical point of view, the following issues appear particularly relevant: ● The paradox of the lack of regionalisation of the MENA area within globalisation. ● The paradox of marginalisation of the MENA area within globalisation. ● The paradox of the empowerment of civil society amid the crisis of the state. The MENA area is therefore at the crossroads of some of the most significant structural developments of the new global political economy.

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