Home Theory - 3. Networks and systems (Final page)

Migration theory

Networks and systems

Both individual and structural perspectives are illuminating in certain cases. But in the end they have to be combined.

Individuals or families cannot make decisions independent of the structures in which they find themselves. Nor do structures exist independently of individuals - who themselves help create and reshape their political and economic environment. One of the clearest examples of a fusion between the two can be seen in the growth of migrant networks  - through which individual pioneer migrants help those who follow them to settle and find work.

The emergence of such networks suggests an even broader type of theory - a systems  view that incorporates not just migrant networks and individual decision making but also includes other flows such as those of capital and goods and suggests how all these mght combine with political and cultural influences. This in principle could help illuminate the integrated and complex nature of migration particularly at the regional level. But it may do so at the expense of clarity. Everything in the world may well be connected to everything else, but it is difficult to cope with so many issues simultaneously.

The following sections, therefore, proceed in a more linear fashion, looking first at why people migrate, and then at how. Some of these factors might be considered structural, some individual, others might be better thought of as elements of a system.

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Filipino members of Migrante in Kuwait

Some of the the most organized networks are of Fllipinos. Migrante International is an Alliance of Filipino Organizations.
Photo: Lennon Wong