Migrant Balancing Acts: Understanding the Interactions Between Integration and Transnationalism

Journal article

Erdal, Marta Bivand & Ceri Oeppen (2013) Migrant Balancing Acts: Understanding the Interactions Between Integration and Transnationalism, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 39 (6): 867–884.

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In this article, we explore ways of understanding the interactions between migrant integration and transnationalism, based on a review of quantitative and qualitative literature. Integration is taken as the starting point, and the assumption that integration and transnationalism are at odds with one another is questioned. When considered as constituents of a social process, we argue that there are many similarities between integration and transnationalism. A typology for understanding these interactions is developed, based on an acknowledgment of migrants' agency in straddling two societies—as a balancing act. This typology is presented as a tool to enable migration scholars to move beyond simply acknowledging the co-existence of transnationalism and integration and towards an analysis of the nature of interactions between the two—understood in relation both to particular places and contexts and to the human beings involved and their functional, emotional and pragmatic considerations.

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