Globalisation and Migration

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Globalisation and Migration

Idea that barriers between societies are disappearing and people are becoming increasingly interconnected across national boundaries. 

Globalisation is the result of many processes, including the growth of communication systems and global media, the creation of global markets, the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the expansion of the European Union. 

Globalisation produces rapid social changes, such as international migration, (movement of people across borders)


  • There has been a speeding up of the rate of migration. 
  • According to United Nations (2013), between 2000 and 2013 international migration has increased by 33% to reach 232 million of 3.2% of the world's population. In the same year, 862,000 people either entered or left the UK


  • Many types of migrant
    • permanent settlers
    • temporary workers
    • spouses
    • forced migrants e.g. refugees, asylum seekers
  • Some have legal entitlement others enter without permission
  • Students are now a major group of migrants in the UK in 2014, there were more Chinese born (26%) than UK born (23%) postgraduate students 
  • Before 1990s, immigration to the UK came from former British colonies. 
  • Most had a right to settle and become citizens
  • Formed a small number of stable, geographically concentrated and homogenous ethnic communities
  • Super Diversity 
    • Since 1990s globalisation has led to what Stephen Vertovec (2007) calls 'super diversity' 
    • Migrants now come from a much wider range of countries. 
  • Robin Cohen (2006) distinguishes three types of migrant
    • Citizens - full citizenship rights. Since 1970s government has made it harder to acquire these rights
    • Denizens - privileged foreign nationals welcomed by state
    • Helots - most exploited group. State and employers view them as 'disposable units of labour power', reserve of army labour. Unskilled, poorly paid, include illegally trafficked workers, those legally tied to particular employers, e.g. domestic servants

Feminisation of migration

  • In the past most were men workers, today half of all migrants are female. 
  • Women migrants are fitted into patriarchal stereotypes about women's roles as carers or providers of sexual services
  • Barabara Ehrenreich and Arlie Hochschild (2003) observe that care work, domestic work and sex work in Western…


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