Social Class, Migration Policy and Migrant Strategies: An Introduction

View Table of Contents for International Migration volume 56 issue 3

Saskia Bonjour, Sébastien Chauvin (2018)

Social Class, Migration Policy and Migrant Strategies: An Introduction

International Migration, vol.56, n.4, August 2018, p. 5-18.

This introduction traces class at the interface between migration policy and migrant strategies. Scholarship on the politics of migration and citizenship has thus far largely neglected class. In contrast, we contend that discourses on migration, integration and citizenship are inevitably classed. Assessed through seemingly heterogeneous criteria of “merit” and “performance”, class serves as an analytical connector between economic and identity rationales which intersect in all migration policies, including those regulating family and humanitarian admission. Class-selective policy frames can function as constraints maintaining some aspiring migrants into immobility or channeling different groups of migrants into separate and unequal incorporation routes. Yet, policy frames can also serve as resources to strategize with as migrants navigate and perform gendered and classed expectations embedded into receiving-country migration regimes. We conclude that connecting policy with migrant strategies is key to reintroducing class without naturalizing classed strategies of mobility.

Special issue on Migration & Social class with Jennifer Elrick, Elke Winter, Eleonore Kofman, Paola Bonizzoni, Conny Roggeband, Marleen van der Haar, Sebastian Prothmann, Maria Villares-Varela and Marieke Slootman.