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Anthropology of Migration


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Title: Anthropology of Migration

Anthropology of Migration
  • Anthropology of Migration
  • Migration Studies
  • Categories of Migration
  • International Migration Trends
  • Why do people move?
  • New Immigrants
  • Post 1960s Immigration to the US
  • Migration Politics

Migration Studies(subfield of cultural
  • Multi-sited fieldwork conduct research in more
    than one location (ex. in Nigeria, then in the US
    with NI immigrants)
  • Macro and Micro perspectives focus on a small
    town or village AND national/global economic and
    political perspective
  • Applied anthropology policy, programs, aid,
    improving peoples lives, etc.

Categories of Migration
  • Internal movement within national boundaries
    (ex. Rural to urban migration)
  • International movement between national
    boundaries (ex. 100 million people live outside
    their home country today, 2 of worlds
  • Transnational movement back and forth between
    national boundaries (ex. Mexican immigrants in CA)

International Migration Trends
  • Has grown throughout the world since 1945 (end of
    WWII) and again since the mid-1980s.
  • 35 million people from developing countries
    migrated to developed nations in past 30 years.
  • US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina
    most popular countries for early international
  • Early 20th c. immigration policy is labeled
    white immigration because they explicitly
    limited non-white immigration.

International Migration (cont.)
  • 1960s Canada focused on skills experience
  • 1973 White Australia policy ended
  • 1980s and 1990s US, CA, and Australia
    experienced large-scale immigration from Asia,
    Latin America, and the Caribbean
  • Today immigrants to EU increasing, esp. from
  • Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia
  • Turkey is receiving immigrants (from Bulgaria,
    Kurdish and Iranian refugees) and Turks migrate
    out (to Germany)
  • Millions of Palestinian refugees moved to Jordan
    and Lebanon.
  • Jewish Immigrants from EU, N. Africa, US,
    Russia moved to Israel.

  • Wage Labor Migration for work, for specific
    period of time (35 million today)
  • Asian women fastest-growing group domestic
    servants, nurses, teacher (Not allowed to marry
    or have a child in their work country!)
  • From Indonesia, Philippines, Sri Lanka,
    Thailand, To Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Hong Kong,
    Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia

  • Displacement people are evicted from their
    homes, communities, or countries and forced to
    move elsewhere
  • Refugees victims of persecution on basis of
    race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, gender,
    political views (More than 10 million people in
    2000, 1/500 people were refugees!)
  • Internally displaced persons (IDPs) fastest
    growing, forced to leave their home but remain in
    their country (about 20 million people) AF has
    highest , Sudan about 4.5 million
  • IDP problem not international, so no UN aid.
    Dr. Francis Deng is helping as UN rep, miserable
    conditions with no health care or schools,
    victims of development projects!

  • Institutional Migrants voluntary or involuntary
    movement into social institutions, such as
    monks/nuns, elderly, prisoners, boarding school
    or college students, soldiers
  • Mental stress risks
  • Health risks

  • New Immigrants international migrants who have
    moved since
  • 1965 amendments to the Immigration and
    Naturalization Act more skilled workers from
    developing nations, family reunification (Asia,
    L.Am., Caribbean, E. EU and Russia)
  • US visas
  • Immigrant (residence, can work apply for
  • Non-immigrant (tourists students, limited time,
    no working privileges)

  • 3 trends since the 1990s
  • 1. Globalization More nations involved in
    international migration, more cultural diversity
    in all nations
  • 2. Acceleration Numbers of migrants growing in
    all regions
  • 3. Feminization Women are increasingly
    migrating to and from all regions, and are
    becoming the majority of migrants

  • Post 1960s Immigration to US
  • Latin America Caribbean
  • Mexico
  • Dominican Republic
  • El Salvador
  • Asia
  • Korea
  • Vietnam
  • India
  • Former Soviet Union
  • Africa

New Immigrants from Latin America the Caribbean
  • 2000 census Latinos totaled c. 36 million people
    (12.5 of US population)
  • LA, Miami, San Antonio, NY Latinos are largest
    minority group
  • 3 largest subgroups Mexicans, Puerto Ricans ,
    and Cubans (then Dominican Republic, Colombia,
    Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru)

Mexican Immigrants
  • 2006 about 10-15 million Mexican immigrants in
    US, largest of foreign-born immigrants in US
  • 1990-2000 the doubled
  • Most common destination states CA, TX, IL (then
    GA, NC)
  • MX is leading source of illegal immigration

  • one of the fastest immigrant groups in US
  • Concentrated in Washington Heights, NYC
  • Mostly middle and upper-class
  • Hope to return home
  • chain migration first wave of immigrants
    attracts relatives and friends
  • Manufacturing garment industries, retail
    wholesale trade
  • Competitive with newer immigrants from MX and
    Central America
  • Highest poverty rate in NYC (37), mostly
    women-headed households w/children
  • Gender gap in wages, but still better than home

  • 4th largest Latino population in the US
  • Civil war from 1979-1989 major reason for
  • Most war refugees settled in NY (esp. Long
  • Many poor Salvadorans entered illegally across
    the MX border
  • Service work nannies, maids, restaurants,
    caregivers, gardening, construction, pool

New Immigrants from East AsiaKoreans
  • Before 1965 Korean immigrants were wives of US
    servicemen children adopted by US parents
  • 1962 South Korean govt. encouraged massive
    emigration for economic opportunity, family
  • 1985-1987 more than 35,000 Koreans immigrated to
    US per year (S. Korea was largest immigrant
    source after MX and Philippines)
  • 1945-1951 Many N. Koreans escaped communist N.
    Korea to live in S. Korea as displaced refugees

New Immigrants from East AsiaKoreans
  • Entrepreneurs, Christian, middle-class
  • 1990s of lower-class immigrants increased
  • Many moved to LA (Whites were less than 40.
    Asian Americans Latinos were 50.)
  • South Central LA Black, Latino, Korean
    American people
  • Conflict over politics liquor store ownership
    led to 1992 riots 187 Korean liquor stores were
    damaged (among 1000s of businesses), 1/3 of all
    deaths were Latinos

New Immigrants from South East Asia Vietnamese
  • Post-war 1970s over 1.25 million refugees
    relocated to US, Canada, Australia, France,
    Germany, UK
  • 3rd largest Asian American minority in US
  • 3 subgroups
  • 1975 Elite US employees members of S.
    Vietnamese govt. military, left before
    communism, intact families, financial assistance,
    English skills, good jobs

New Immigrants from South East Asia Vietnamese
  • Boat People came to US after Vietnam-China
    conflict of 1978, rural, lived under communism,
    dangerous exit through Cambodia (over 50 died),
    refugees in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines,
    Hong Kong before US, no/low English skills,
    depressed US economy of 1980s
  • Ethnic Chinese distinct class of entrepreneurs
    in Vietnam, arrived as boat people, left in 1987,
    difficult time adjusting in US

New Immigrants from South Asia Hindus from India
  • 1965 first wave of South Asians, mostly male
    professionals from India
  • NYC largest population of Indians in US
  • First wave professions medicine, engineering,
  • Later waves less educated, convenience stores,
    hotel/motel ownership, licensed cab drivers
    (Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis)

New Immigrants from South Asia Hindus from India
  • better-off immigrant group value childrens
    education, higher education, small families in
    US, invest in social advancement
  • Hindu temples pass on heritage to next
    generation, including language
  • Ganesha Temple in NY founded in 1997, pilgrimage
    destination for Hindus in NY

New Immigrants from the Former Soviet Union
  • 1991 collapse of Soviet Union into 15 separate
  • Over 9 million people moved through E. Europe and
    Central Asia
  • Since 1988 largest refugee group to enter the US
  • Soviet Jews large proportion of refugees
  • Largest moved to Israel
  • Since 1960s, over 300,000 settled in US,
    especially CA

Issues for Soviet Jews
  • Used to wide-range of Govt. services (jobs,
    housing, day care, etc.), but no longer
  • White Europeans dominant race majority in US,
    but not in Soviet Union
  • Access to prosperous US Jewish communities
  • Difficulty finding good jobs, so menial labor
  • Marriage brokerage (young Russian women)
  • Culture and Language loss

New Immigrants from Africa
  • Largest Forced Migration Trans-Atlantic Slave
    Trade, c. 12 million slaves from Africa to Latin
    Am., Caribbean, US (height of trade from
  • 1990 c. 500,000 African-born people
  • Smallest of immigrants in US
  • Africans have migrated to the US by choice
    throughout the 1900s

3 waves of African migration to US
  • Students professionals stayed in US due to
    political and economic struggles in Africa since
    the 1970s. Immigration Reform and Control Act of
    1986 granted 400,000 Africans immigrant status
    relaxed the immigration policy toward Africans
  • Political refugees mid-1980s, especially from
    the conflict-torn Horn of Africa (Ethiopia,
    Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan)
  • Diversity Visa program (lottery) 1990s
  • Immigration and Naturalization Services

Migration Politics
  • Labor Flow cheap immigrant labor supports
    businesses around the world
  • Undermines labor unions
  • Status of established, legal workers
  • US Immigration Law who will be allowed what
    govt. benefits
  • Problem immigrant jobs are less desirable,
    more stigmatized, less well-paying

Migration Politics
  • Forced Migration human rights violations
  • Right of return displaced people have a
    guaranteed right to go home, 1974 UN Inalienable
    right. (ex. Big issue for Palestinian refugees
    after 1948)
  • Health care? A universal human right!