Theses Master's

Migrant Networks: An Expression of Collective Identity and an Indicator for Integration

Kraft, Sierra

One way to conceptualize international migration is to examine the role of networks. These networks or linkages are crucial to the survival of migrants, both while in-transit, and while working to integrate in the receiving community. Migrant identity, decisions to migrate, and migration processes occur in consultation with others and therefore the migrant definition and human rights framework ought to reflect the current reality of migration as a collective identity and process. The first chapter explores the notion of individual and collective identity and proposes re-defining the term ‘migrant’ to include a collective identity. Migrants utilize networks not only as a way to access resources, but also to express collective identity when they are unable to establish connections while in-transit or within receiving communities. Migrant networks play a crucial role in the expressions of migrant identity and should be included in the migrant definition as a way to promote and protect the rights of all migrants. The second chapter builds off the idea of migrant utilization of networks to propose that networks ought to be utilized as an indicator to measure migrant integration. Indicators measure migrant integration and are typically framed and discussed within the parameters of quantitative measurements. This chapter suggests an expansion of the current set of indicators to also include more qualitative indicators, which help measure less tangible or quantifiable changes in a migrant’s life such as identity and sense of belonging. Networks bridge understanding in how migrants connect and integrate in their new society and should be considered as an indicator for migrant integration.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
July 17, 2017