New Publication: Decision-Making Under Uncertainty

I’m happy to announce a new publication, coming out of the Swiss Subsaharan African Migration Network. My direct contribution to this thematic issue was the introduction, where I examine common strands of the articles in the issue. As hinted at in the title, the focus is on decision-making under uncertainty — and migration decisions are the example to explore these issues.

When I write about ‘migrants’ here, let’s be clear that there is enormous heterogeneity in this ‘group’: different motivations, different aspirations, different capabilities, and different strategies to deal with the uncertainty inherent in migration decisions.

We do not observe naïve and gullible migrants ignorant of the risks and dangers of irregular migration, nor do we find masses of ‘victims’ tricked by fraudsters and smugglers. Instead, we observe individuals with aspirations, navigating a world characterized by limitations and boundaries. Information is patchy, but this has as much to do with the changing circumstances and opportunities—each risky to some extent. Under these circumstances, migrants show great flexibility to reach their goals, drawing on heuristics and narratives as is common in decision-making under limited information.

p.183

When thinking about migration decisions, it’s better to think about a chain of linked decisions — a chain where circumstances can and do change. In these circumstances, occasionally we also observe what I called “migration velleity” rather than ambition.

Ruedin, Didier. 2021. ‘Decision-Making Under Uncertainty: African Migrants in the Spotlight’. Social Inclusion 9 (1): 182–186. https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v9i1.4076. Open Access.

Transnational Political Practices and Integration of Second Generation Migrants

Two of the S-SAM grantees just published a paper in JEMS on transnational political practices of so-called second generation migrants (children of immigrants). The paper looks at the ties of immigrants, focusing on transnational political practices. Using qualitative interviews of Ghanaians in Amsterdam, the paper shows that children of immigrants participate in politics in the country of destination and origin at the same time. The authors discuss the apparent contradictions between transnational political engagement and ‘integration’, and also highlight how citizenship policies can push children of immigrants in either direction.
Kyei, Justice Richard Kwabena Owusu, Elizabeth Nana Mbrah Koomson-Yalley, and Peter Dwumah. 2020. ‘Transnational Political Practices and Integration of Second Generation Migrants’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, September. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1369183X.2020.1816812.
Zufferey, Jonathan, Ilka Steiner, and Didier Ruedin. 2020. ‘The Multiple Forms of Migration: Evidence from a Sequence Analysis in Switzerland 1998 to 2008’. International Migration Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/0197918320914239.

Reminder: Call for Survey Questions & Experiments

This is a reminder for the call for a joint survey, building to a joint publication.

You can contribute (a) survey questions, (b) designs for survey experiments, and (c) interest in survey analysis in the following areas:

— The role of limited information in decisions to migrate
— Aspirations and abilities to migrate
— The role of different narratives of migration
— Immobility (inability or lack of motivation to move)
— Research on the role of trust in migration decisions
— Health and migration

The survey will probably be fielded in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, or a combination of these countries in October 2020.

You are embedded in a university in a Subsaharan African
country or in Switzerland, and study human migration in any relevant discipline.

Deadline: 4 September 2020

Online form: http://neuchatel.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9ulRPsbrISMoJSJ

For further information on the Swiss-Subsaharan Africa Migration Network (S-SAM): http://www.unine.ch/sfm/home/formation/ssam.html

Call for Survey Questions & Experiments: Sub-Saharan Africa

I am happy to announce a new call for a joint survey, building to a joint publication.

You can contribute (a) survey questions, (b) designs for survey experiments, and (c) interest in survey analysis in the following areas:

— The role of limited information in decisions to migrate
— Aspirations and abilities to migrate
— The role of different narratives of migration
— Immobility (inability or lack of motivation to move)
— Research on the role of trust in migration decisions
— Health and migration

The survey will probably be fielded in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, or a combination of these countries in October 2020.

You are embedded in a university in a Subsaharan African
country or in Switzerland, and study human migration in any relevant discipline.

Deadline: 4 September 2020

Online form: http://neuchatel.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_9ulRPsbrISMoJSJ

For further information on the Swiss-Subsaharan Africa Migration Network (S-SAM): http://www.unine.ch/sfm/home/formation/ssam.html

Migration, mobility and COVID-19 – A tale of many tales

S-SAM grantee Amanda Bisong wrote up some initial thoughts on migration and Covid-19. Read the blogpost here.

The crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed existing migration debates in Europe, yet is inextricably linked with mobility and movement and its governance within the EU and globally. The current situation reveals the complexities of migration debates, pushing aside current, unearthing old and raising new questions.