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Module Abstract

1. Chapter
Introduction to Migration

"In recent years international migration has been at the center of public and scientific attention. This is due to the fact that more and more people leave their countries of origin to live and work abroad. According to the United Nations 200 million people, or 3 percent of the world’s population, reside in a country where they were not born (UNDP 2009: 2). The reasons for these worldwide increasing movements are manifold: first of all, economic factors and family reunification have to be named. Likewise important, the escape from (civil) wars, forced resettlement, political repression and ethnic or religious discrimination drive international population movements. Furthermore, international migration is perceived to rise as a side effect of globalization.

For a number of years, global migrations have been characterized by new patterns. Many countries are sending and receiving countries alike, and many additionally experience transit movements. In the worldwide context, a feminization of migration has occurred and the number of short-term and repeated migrations has grown. This contributes to the emergence of transnational networks and transnational social spaces.

The overall topic of the Migration Module is to explore migration movements in Eastern Europe, where a new migration space has developed since the political transformation at the end of the eighties. To get a basic understanding of the issues addressed by migration research, the first part of the Migration Module will look at the determinants of international migrations in a theoretical perspective. In addition, it will be shown that migrations can only be understood in a historical and political context. As an introduction to this subject, fundamental questions in the field of international migration will be presented."

Barbara Dietz: Introduction to the Subject. 1st Chapter of Unit 1 of the Migration Module. © East European Studies Online; 2010.