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Anthropology of Migration

Ein Arbeitsplatz in einer Textilwerkstatt von bolivianischen Migrant*innen in Buenos Aires

Ein Arbeitsplatz in einer Textilwerkstatt von bolivianischen Migrant*innen in Buenos Aires
Image Credit: Karlotta Bahnsen

The causes of migration and flight are diverse and subject to historical change. Climate change, various forms of violence, and poverty have created and continue to create mobilities and social, cultural, and economic practices across nation-state borders. These mobilities are contrasted by restrictive policies of nation-state and supranational entities. Current migration anthropology does not focus exclusively on the cross-border migrations of people. It is concerned with the emergence and transformation of transnational social networks, with translocal and transnational flows of capital (remittances), information, technologies, ideas, and practices (social remittances), and their influence on social, cultural, and political life in regions of origin as well as destination. Migration also has a multi-layered impact on the development of urban spaces, which is closely related to economic transformation processes through transnational practices of "ethnic" entrepreneurship or specific mobility patterns of highly skilled workers.

Transnational as well as intraregional migration is a central research topic of Cultural and Social Anthropology. In transdisciplinary dialogue, courses, conferences and workshops are organized at the Institute for Latin American Studies in the context of migration research; migration anthropology is also firmly anchored at the LAI in doctoral programs and externally funded projects. The qualitative research methods of ethnography are used to investigate complex forms of belonging that migration processes produce or are altered by. Transculturality, the transnationalization of household, kinship, marriage, family and friendship focus on interpersonal relationships and interactions and therefore benefit particularly from the actor-centeredness of anthropological research approaches.