ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, July 2014

Research Committee on
Sociology of Migration, RC31

RC31 main page

Program Coordinator

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 24.Papers not accepted for regular sessions will be considered for inclusion in a session of Roundtable presentations. Please indicate at the end of your abstract if you do NOT want your paper, in the event it is not accepted for a regular session, to be transferred to a Roundtable session.


For sessions program and schedule see

On-line congress program


Ambivalence as a Category for Migration Studies: Promises, Pitfalls, Ways Ahead

Session Organizers
Peter KIVISTO, Augustana College, USA,
Paolo BOCCAGNI, University of Trento, Italy,

Session in English

Ambivalence, seen as an actor’s reaction towards any complex, cognitively confusing or emotionally charged social phenomenon, is emerging as a meaningful interpretive tool in the social sciences, including sociology. In this regard, migrant life experiences can be analyzed by emphasizing ambivalence as an enduring emotion, a more situationally-specific attitude, or even as a permanent life condition. The thorny coexistence of “opposing affective orientations toward the same person, object or symbol”, as the quintessential character of ambivalence (Smelser, 1997), is visible in immigrants’ typical life experiences, which are marked by contrasting and sometimes contradictory roles and fluid identities. This holds, for instance, for first generation migrants’ reactions and expectations towards receiving societies, as a mixture of attraction and repulsion, which intermingles feelings of acceptance (at least instrumentally, as members of the labour force) and rejection (as marginalized human beings with rights, needs and life projects of their own). Migrants’ relationships with their home societies may likewise produce ambivalence, the product of what has been described as “ambiguous loss” (Boss, 1987).

Ambivalence can be relevant to immigrants’ future life projects, as the allure of the prospect of return home is set against the typically greater opportunities afforded by everyday life abroad – which results in decisional trade-offs. More broadly, immigrants’ relatively limited control over their ‘external situation’ in host societies and their limited ability to ‘define’ their situation can be a source of ambivalence. Relatively unexplored in the literature to date is how the weight of ambivalence is affected by cultural and societal variations that define both immigrant groups and receiving societies, as well as by the interplay of migrants’ agency and the external structure of opportunities.

Against this background, we welcome theoretical and/or empirical contributions, based on single case studies or on comparative analyses that may advance our understanding of the interpretative added value of an ambivalence lens for migration studies. Reflections on the methodological and substantive difficulty of research on migrant ambivalence are welcome, as well.


Arts, Migration and Incorporation: A Global Perspective

Session Organizers
Marco MARTINIELLO, Université de Liège, Belgium,
Mónica IBANEZ ANGULO, Universidad de Burgos, Spain,

Session in English

The academic literature on immigrant integration and incorporation is huge both in Europe and in America. It has literally exploded in Europe and in the US since the 1980’s (Martiniello and Rath, 2010, 2012) to cover a wide rage of issues linked to economic, social, political and cultural incorporation of immigrant and their offspring. However, some topics and issues have so far been, relatively neglected, for example the relationship between the arts and the integration of migrants and their offspring.

Itis remarkable that the first book to examine comprehensively the importance of art in the lives of immigrants in the US was published as late as 2010 (DiMaggio and Fernandez-Kelly 2010). In Europe, two special issues of dedicated to that question appeared in 2008 (Martiniello and Lafleur 2008) and 2009 (Martiniello, Puig and Suzanne 2009). The importance of art and popular culture in immigrant integration remains a relatively less explored subject in the sociological and political science literature on migration and integration.

In this background, the aim of this session is precisely to contribute solving that gap by engaging in a global discussion on the importance of art in general, of popular music in particular in the integration and incorporation of immigrants and their offspring from a sociological perspective.

In this session we are interested in papers that address the interrelationships between art migration and immigrant incorporation that draw from a theoretical and/or an empirical based research. More precisely, we are interested in examining: (i) the extent to which art constitutes a form of expression that has no borders allowing to the mobility of both the social agents that produce the artworks and the artworks themselves; (ii) empirical data regarding the ways in which art has facilitated the social inclusion of migrant artists by successfully integrating them into the receiving society; (iii) empirical and theoretical papers dealing with the role of art in the métissage and hybridization of cultural practices; (iv) contrasting definitions across cultures of what constitutes an artistic expression/artistic performance and of how one becomes an artist; (v) the spatial and temporal locations of migrant artists and their works: popular music, street art, etc; and (vi) the role of art in the struggles for migrants’ rights (e.g. civil society associations, social movements, demonstrations).


Asian Migration from Comparative Perspectives

Session Organizer
Hideki TARUMOTO, Hokkaido University, Japan,

Session in English

There is no doubt that Asia is an active area of international migration. But, how we can understand Asian migration? What are difference between migration in Asia and ones in other areas like the Western world?

All Asian countries have received not a few migrants from other countries. A lot of migrants to Asia seeks well-paid jobs in other countries. Recently, female migrants are paid attention to in this area. They move to other countries to be engeged in so-called `women`s works` such as care workers, housekeepers, and international marriage, which lead to creating global household in the world. Surely, some of the immigrants have come from Western highly-industrialised countries, but a large part of them move across borders within Asian countries.

Asia is not only a migration-receiving area but it is notable for sending massive emigrants. The Philippines is a typical example to establish emigration-producing industry within. A part of migrants go towards Western highly-industiralised countries to seek better opportunities of work and education. As a result, they have helped Western societies to become multicultural further. Some of them, such as Japanese and South Koreans, are called `moral minorities` in Western countries like the United States. As well-known, oversea Chinese have dispersed all over that world. Besides, it should be also mentioned that there are a considerable number of Asian emigrants who go towards other Asian countries.

These Asian cases highlight the theoretical hypothesis of globalisation versus the nation-state. While some nation-states in Asia still retain their power contrary to the globalisation thesis. Even if not so, others might be immature to organise people as nationals, which make national boundaries blur. In these situations, what migration policies do such Asian-typed states produce? Can they perform to regulate migration effectively?

Consequently, this session poses the purpose of clarifying characteristics of Asian migration with comparison to migration in Europe, America, Africa and Oceania etc.


Back to Class and Race: Migrant Workers and Low Income Jobs in a Globalizing World

Session Organizers
Nuno DIAS, Universidad Nueva de Lisboa, Portugal,
Renato CARMO, Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, Portugal,

Session in English

Historically, low-income sectors such as domestic services and construction and low- end industrial jobs have played an important role in incorporating foreign workers into the labour markets of host societies. This importance has been constantly highlighted by specific literature along with references to the intertwined growth of immigration and of the relative importance of those particular sectors to the global economy. These migrant workers are mainly recruited in the informal market, frequently being engaged with unreliable salary conditions where any sort of social benefits are usually absent.

In face of this unequivocal concentration of migrants in specific gendered sectors of the labour market; the consequent occurrence of processes of social segmentation and racialization within these sectors with regard to these contingents; and of the globalized crossed patterns of social disqualification where class and race surface as mutual explanatory variables seems urgent to enlarge, in a comparative fashion, the debate on the intersection underlined above but also on how the current recession is affecting these particular labour market sectors and its migrant workers.

Therefore, the main objective of this workshop is to discuss the intersection of processes of ethnic and class formation in specific labour-market segments and also its relation with wider processes such as the increased deregulation in labour market, the contraction of Welfare state, etc.

Ultimately we will try to convey a limited number of articles to apply for a publication on labour and race issues.


Circular or Temporary Mobilities and Global Inequality

Session Organizer
Lloyd WONG, University of Calgary, Canada,

Session in English

This session will examine the phenomenon of circular or temporary migration which has (re)emerged as a significant theme in the migration literature as distinct from the phenomenon of settlement migration. Papers that examine specific case studies of circular migration are welcome as well as those that address state policies with respect to circular or temporary migration. Further, along with the customary focus on low, unskilled and semi-skilled temporary labour migration (such as agricultural worker, home care workers, etc.) papers are also welcome on highly skilled labour migration (such as high-tech workers, transnational athletes, etc.).

Authors are encouraged to utilize the new mobilities paradigm by itself or integrate it with other perspectives or dimensions of inequality, such as global political economy, racialization, and genderization, to theoretically frame their papers. The case of circular irregular migration will also be considered.


Contemporary Labor Migration Policies in East Asia

Session Organizer
Kristin SURAK, University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany,

Session in English

Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan stand out as democracies with strong economies, aging societies, well-educated populations, and rock-bottom birthrates that have opened only the narrowest of doors to labor immigration. Indeed, by some measures, they stand out as negative cases. But they have not remained static over time.

The purpose of this panel would be to bring together papers on Japan, South Korean, and Taiwan to explore both change and stasis in labor migration policies over the past twenty years. Focus would be placed on the political economy of labor migration in the region. What explains the halting turn to foreign workers? Do developmental state characteristics or neoliberal trends play a role in how labor migration programs are implemented and managed? What has been the impact of democratic mechanisms on migration policy formation? How have these states dealt with the unintended consequences of policy implementation? Are regional patterns or dynamics evident?


Contemporary Spatial Mobilities in Family Life

Session Organizers
Laura MERLA, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium,
Loretta BALDASSAR, University of Western Australia, Australia,
Yukimi SHIMODA, University of Western Australia, Australia,
Sachiko SONE, University of Western Australia, Australia,

Session in English

This session explores spatial mobilities in family life in all their diversity: sojourn, commuter, transnational, retirement, multi-local, lifestyle, international student, FIFO, return visits, repatriations, ‘tenkin-zoku’... We examine mobility as the new paradigm for understanding social life, and explore mobility and absence as increasingly common experiences in contemporary family life. What are the major issues and challenges presented by this wide range of internal and transnational mobilities? Can we usefully examine these diverse types of mobility together or are there distinctions that warrant careful attention? Our consideration includes the ways in which the mobilities of family members influence those who move and those who stay at ‘home’. We invite contributions that examine contemporary family mobilities in diverse forms and raise issues and challenges for our spatially moving societies. We are particularly interested in contributions that examine contemporary family mobilities in Asia, and other non-western regions.


Emergent Multi-Cultural Identities and Practices of Immigrants: Toward the Recognition of Yet Another Integration Trajectory

Session Organizer
Ewa MORAWSKA, University of Essex, United Kingdom,

Session in English

Not open for submission of abstracts.
In this session we consider the need to recognize yet another trajectory of immigrants’ integration into the host society which is becoming common in the era of intensified glocalization and, thus, multi-culturalisation processes, namely, the emergence of plural identities and cultural practices among immigrants. These plural identities and practices may combine elements of customs and lifestyles of several different groups in the host society immigrants come into contact with and/or merge elements of local (ized) commitments and cosmopolitan orientations. Such multi-cultural form of adaptation circumvents the existing models of immigrant integration, both the segmented assimilation theory which distinguishes between mainstream upward and downward trajectories, and the ethnic-path or ethnicization model whereby immigrants acculturate to the receiver society from within their ethnic group by mixing-and-fusing just two components, that is, their home- and host-country traditions.

The session panel will include Thomas Faist (UBielefeld), the author of a 2011 JERS article on diversity as a new mode of integration; Steven Vertovec (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity/Goettingen), the author of a 2012 EJS essay on diversity as the social imagery and several publications on multiculturalism; Peter Kivisto (Augustana College), the author of 2010 book on multiculturalism in a global society; and Ewa Morawska (forthcoming essays on “Multiculturalism from Below: Reflections of an Immigrant Ethnographer” and “On Conviviality: Theoretical Reflections on Its Meanings, Facilitating & Hindering Circumstances, and Different Varieties”).


Exploring Return Migration

Session Organizer
Francesca DEGIULI, Farleigh Dickinson University, USA,

Session in English

Since the economic crisis of 2008-09 and the following economic turmoil in Europe a number of former immigrants have returned home. This panel aims to explore who are the migrants who return, when and why they chose to do so/ In addition, the panel aims to explore what roles do these social actors play in their countries once they return if any and what it means to be a return migrant in the current state of affairs.


Forced Migration

Session Organizer
David BARTRAM, University of Leicester, United Kingdom,

Session in English

Migration scholars in recent years have argued that distinctions between ‘forced’ and ‘voluntary’ (or ‘economic’) migration are difficult to sustain. Certainly there is no dichotomy between these two types – but it nonetheless seems possible and desirable to describe (& thus categorize) different migration flows using these terms. Papers considering conceptual and/or empirical questions along the following lines are particularly welcome: beyond the obvious cases where people flee rather than be shot or blown up, what exactly makes ‘forced migration’ forced? To what extent is the conventional ‘refugee’ paradigm still useful for understanding forced migration on its own terms? What consequences might follow from describing a particular migration stream as forced (e.g. do the migrants in question merit more consideration than other migrants in claims for entry)?

Other papers directly connected to forced migration issues will be considered as well.


Immigrant Integration in the New Immigration Destinations

Session Organizer
Hirohisa TAKENOSHITA, Sophia University, Japan,

Session in English

Over several decades, many countries have experienced a massive inflow of immigrants from other countries. Meanwhile, there has been a wide variation across nations in the way in which immigrants have been incorporated into the host society. Although some countries in Asia and Europe have recently been added to new immigration destinations, previous research has been limited to several countries that have accepted immigrants for a long period of time. Questions addressed in this session would be whether there would be any systemic difference in actual mechanisms for incorporation and integration, depending on the period in which countries began to accept immigrants from other countries. If any, how different would the integration mechanism be across nations? Would there be any similar characteristics of integration of immigrants within recent immigration countries?

Papers that focus specifically on immigrants in a country are also welcome, whereas the session organizer expects presenters to discuss the features of integration in a given country in a comparative perspective.


Immigration and Participation in Voluntary Organizations

Session Organizers
Eric FONG, University of Toronto, Canada,
Wataru OZAWA, Ritsumeikan University, Japan,

Session in English

Participation of immigrants in voluntary organizations in the host country has been gradually gaining attention among researchers. Using participation in voluntary organizations as an indicator of civic participation, we can evaluate the degree of civic integration of immigrants in the host country.
This session attempts to facilitate discussions on
  1. factors that affect the participation of immigrants in voluntary organizations and
  2. the consequences of participation in voluntary organizations with respect to immigrant integration


Japanese-Brazilians from Global Sociological Perspectives

Integrative Session: Japan Sociological Society, RC31 Sociology of Migration and Brazilian Sociological Society
Not open for submission of abstracts.


Migration and Gender

Session Organizer
Manashi RAY, West Virginia State University, USA,

Session in English

Women comprised 49 percent of migrants in 2000 (International Labor Organization 2003: 9). While it true that there has been no significant change in the proportion of female and male international migrants since the 1960s, there have been notable changes in the pattern of migration. More women are migrating independently, and they are doing so as primary income earners instead of following a male relative (Martin 2005). Furthermore, there have been major changes in the migratory patterns between different regions and countries (Jolly and Reeves 2005).

Feminist and gender scholars have recognized these facts and since the mid-1990s have sought to explore the reciprocal relationship between the social construction of gender and the migration process (Curran, Shafer, et al. 2006). The scholarship ascertained that while multiple factors may be influencing migratory decisions, namely economic, social, and political pressures and incentives, the ongoing gender relations and hierarchies within a household context and beyond – state institutions, markets, networks, and civil societies – are what more importantly affect such decisions. The migratory interests of both genders do not necessarily coincide and might influence the decisions about who manages to migrate, for how long, and to what countries (Boyd and Grieco 2003).

Further, gender roles, relations, and inequalities – at the local and global levels – have consequences for the migrants themselves, as well as for the sending and receiving countries and regions. Therefore, the goal of this panel is to invite critical analytical scholarship addressing:


Migration in Africa: Challenges for Global Sociology

Session Organizers
Pragna RUGUNANAN, University of Johannesburg, South Africa,
Ria SMIT, University of Johannesburg, South Africa,

Session in English

The African continent has in the last few decades seen an unparalleled rise in social inequality. Although Africa has a long history of labour migration, increasing numbers of individuals have of late become part of the oscillating migrant labour system due to economic difficulties. Moreover, drought and famine have forced many individuals and families to cross boarder within and between nation-states in order to find means for survival. Others have become internally displaced or compelled to seek political refuge because of persistent political crises, civil war, and human rights violations in their home countries. The aim of this session is to draw the focus to migration in Africa, the challenges migrants face and the strategies they employ to move beyond mere survival to forge a better life.

The session welcomes scholarly contributions related to migration in Africa, which may include but is not limited to the following: forced migration and the life experiences of refugees and asylum seekers; ‘feminisation’ of migration on the African continent; gender and labour migration; migratory experiences and discourses of vulnerability; and migrants and the issue of the ‘second home’.


Migration, Gender and Development: Narrating Experiences in the Global Context

Session Organizer
Bishnu Charan BARIK, Sambalpur University, India,

Session in English

Migration of labour both skilled and unskilled has been viewed as a change agent of development of a society. Earlier research suggests that migration of labour was male dominated. Only in few cases women use to migrate if the case is family migration. With the advent of Globalization with diminishing market and spatial boundary, the scope of migration of women across the globe has increased many folds. As the data reveals there are now 175 million international migrants worldwide or approximately 3.5 per cent population and about half of them are women. Large chunk of them fall under human trafficking group. These women labour largely engage themselves in informal sector jobs like domestic establishments, small scale factories and hazardous industries etc where they undergo severe exploitation mentally, physically and financially. They are paid paltry wage for long hours of work with no social and job security. They are segregated in the work place and prevented not to form their own ethnic group identity. In fact they live a life of floating population in host country.

This panel intends to invite papers with empirical data narrating the working and living condition of women workers across the globe.


New Trends in Migration Flows

Session Organizer
Catherine WIHTOL DE WENDEN, Sciences Po, France,

Session in English

The last years have been characterised by many features regarding migrations, which have entered in a global perspective. Most of these changes have occurred in the last five years. The panel will explore these new migration situations as well as the attempts of management of this new migration landscape (world governance of migration, regional areas of free circulation).


RC31 Business Meeting


RC31 Roundtable. Migration Studies. Part I

Session Organizer
David BARTRAM, University of Leicester, United Kingdom,
Ayumi TAKENARA, Bryn Mawr College, USA,

Session in English


RC31 Roundtable. Migration Studies. Part II

Session Organizer
David BARTRAM, University of Leicester, United Kingdom,
Hirohisa TAKENOSHITA, Sophia University, Japan,

Session in English


Re-Migration of Immigrants: Who Stays, Returns, and Moves on?

Session Organizer
Ayumi TAKENAKA, Bryn Mawr College, USA,

Session in English

In this session we examine an emerging type of global migration that has not received adequate attention in the migration literature: re-migration and multiple migrations. While much research has focused on one-time migration, typically from developing countries to developed ones, more and more migrants today move multiple times, either intentionally or otherwise. Some migrants undertake “transit migration” by moving first to neighboring countries before reaching their final or preferred destinations. “Secondary migration” is common among refugees who move again after being settled in one locale. Moreover, immigrants may decide later to re-migrate, using the first destination as a stepping-stone to move to another country. Who moves on, where, and why, in contrast to who stays and who returns? When does migration stop altogether, if at all? And how do the patterns of re-migration differ from those of one-time migration?

The aim of the panel is to collectively examine these questions by comparing different case studies around the world. We hope that the panel will provide an opportunity to attempt a theoretical model on immigrants’ re-migration and create future dialogs to further discussions.


Transnational Lives: Inequalities and Adaptation

Session Organizer
Caroline PLUSS, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore,

Session in English

More and more people now live in more than one country during their life, being or having been educational, professional, family, and/or friendship or life-styles migrants. This panel presents theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions to explain the experiences of people and collectivities whose lives straddle more than one society. The themes that the papers for this panel should address include:
  1. the uneven embeddedness of transnational migrants in the societies to which they are connected
  2. transnational migrants’ adaptation strategies to become and remain embedded in more than one society
  3. constructions of cultural hybridity and/or cosmopolitanism as strategies to attempt to maintain and/or increase social integration in more than one society
  4. the issues that arise for transnational migrants when they have crossed national boundaries to live elsewhere (several times) in terms of not being or feeling integrated in either one society


Transnational Migration Networks among Ethnic Minorities in the Global Era

Session Organizer
Kayoko ISHII, Toyoeiwa University, Japan,

Session in English

This session will discuss transnational migration networks among ethnic minorities and their utilization of their ethnicities which is once marginalized in the Nation State as social capital in order to survive in trans-border space, by reviewing field-based case studies. In today’s globalized world, certain ethnic minorities, who were once marginalized in the nation-state system, are now vigorously building transnational migration networks by taking advantage of their particular ethnicity/culture. By examining cases on the transnational migration networks among ethnic minorities, this session attempts to analyze connotations of border, center–periphery relationships, and the transition of the “power balance” between ethnicities and nationalities.

This session may include the following themes/discussions:
  1. How do trans-border migration networks expand among particular ethnic minority groups, and what is the function/connotation of such networks?
  2. How do ethnic minorities, who were marginalized in the nation-state system, take advantage of their ethnicity/culture as social capital in order to survive as trans-border citizens?
  3. How have ethnic minorities maintained their transnational migration networks throughout their incorporation into the nation-state system in the 20th century; how have these networks changed in the face of globalization?
Papers based on field cases are welcome, regardless of whether they are qualitative or quantitative.


Joint Sessions

Click on the session title to read its description and the scheduled day/time.

Crossing Experiences: From Biographies of Migrants in and from Northeast Asia

Joint session of RC31 Sociology of Migration and RC38 Biography and Society [host committee]


Families’ Resilience in Times of Economic Crisis and Mobility

Joint session of RC06 Family Research [host committee] and RC31 Sociology of Migration


Religion, Immigrants, and Health

Joint session of RC15 Sociology of Health , RC22 Sociology of Religion [host committee] and RC31 Sociology of Migration


Social Inequalities in International Skilled Labor Migration and Mobility in a Globalized World

Joint session of RC30 Sociology of Work and RC31 Sociology of Migration [host committee]


Tourism and Migration

Joint session of RC31 Sociology of Migration [host committee] and RC50 International Tourism



isa logo
International Sociological Association
June 2014