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The Next Waves: Migration Theory for a Changing World

Aristide R. Zolberg
The International Migration Review
Vol. 23, No. 3, Special Silver Anniversary Issue: International Migration an Assessment for the 90's (Autumn, 1989), pp. 403-430
DOI: 10.2307/2546422
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2546422
Page Count: 28
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The Next Waves: Migration Theory for a Changing World
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Abstract

In the last quarter of a century, migration theory has undergone fundamental change, moving from the classic "individual relocation" genre initiated by Ravenstein a century ago, to a variety of new approaches which nevertheless share important elements: they tend to be historical, structural, globalist and critical. Historicization implies a constant modification of theoretical concerns and emphases in the light of changing social realities, and commitment to a critical approach entails a view of research as one element in a broader project concerned with the elucidation of social and political conditions. The article uses elements from two major theoretical traditions -- a modified world-systems approach and state theory -- to project current trends. Global inequality is considered as a structural given. The article then reviews major topics, including the persistence of restrictive immigration policies as barriers to movement, changing patterns of exploitation of foreign labor, liberalization of exit from the socialist world and the refugee crisis in the developing world. It concludes with a brief consideration of the normative implications of these trends.

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