Locating Migration

Locating Migration: Rescaling Cities and Migrants

Nina Glick Schiller
Ayşe Çağlar
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Locating Migration
    Book Description:

    In this book Nina Glick Schiller and Ayse Çaglar, along with a stellar group of contributing authors, examine the relationship between migrants and cities in a time of massive urban restructuring. They find that locality matters in migration research and migrants matter in the reconfiguration of contemporary cities. This book provides a new approach to the study of migrant settlement and transnational connection in which cities rather than nation-states, ethnic groups, or transnational communities serve as the starting point for comparative analysis.

    Neither negating nor privileging the nation-state, Locating Migration provides ethnographic insights into the various ways in which migrants and specific cities together mutually constitute and contest the local, national, and global. Cities are approached not as containers but as fluid and historically differentiated analytical entry points. Chapters explore migrants' relationship to the neoliberal rebranding, redevelopment, and rescaling of down-and-out, aspiring, and global cities in the United States and Europe. The various chapters document the pathways of incorporation and transnational connection of migrants from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe.

    Migrants are approached not as a homogenous category but in terms of their range of experiences of class, racialization, gender, history, politics, and religion. Setting aside the migrant/native divide that haunts most migration studies, the authors of this book view migrants as residents of cities and actors within them, understanding that to be a resident of a city is to live within, contribute to, and contest globe-spanning processes that shape urban economy, politics, and culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6034-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Chapter 1 Introduction: Migrants and Cities
    (pp. 1-20)

    When we began to study migration in two seemingly different but relatively impoverished cities, one in the northeastern United States and the other in the ʺpostsocialistʺ region of Germany, we were surprised by what we found. Migrantsʹ experiences in these two cities were in some ways hauntingly similar to each other and significantly different from what we had observed in New York and Berlin. We were immediately confronted by the realization that locality matters in migration research in a more differentiated way than it has been acknowledged in migration scholarship. Moreover, research that compared cities with different relationships to migrants...

  5. Part I: Migration and Cities:: Reframing the Topic

    • Chapter 2 The Urban Question and the Scale Question: Some Conceptual Clarifications
      (pp. 23-41)

      Since the early 1990s, there has been an unprecedented explosion of social-scientific interest in the dual problematic of scale and rescaling. First, it is now widely recognized that the scalar constitution of modern capitalism—its differentiation among local, regional, national, transnational, and global geographical units—is not a preexisting feature of social life but is, rather, historically produced, reorganized, and contested (Swyngedouw 1997b; Smith 1995). Second, building upon this theoretical proposition, key contributions to geopolitical economy, state theory, urban and regional studies, social movement studies, and environmental geography have drawn attention to diverse forms of contemporary scalar transformation, or rescaling,...

    • Chapter 3 The Socioterritoriality of Cities: A Framework for Understanding the Incorporation of Migrants in Urban Labor Markets
      (pp. 42-59)

      In this chapter, I will focus on a hitherto underdeveloped area of research in the context of Europe and North America—that is, the explicit relationship between (city) scale and the incorporation of migrants in urban labor markets.¹ Let me first discuss each of these issues briefly in turn. In the most rudimentary of understandings, ʺcity scaleʺ might refer to the size of cities (let us say in terms of population, surface area, or—in the case of so-called global cities—their putative economic importance). Understood in the context of our concerns here, large cities and world or global cities...

    • Chapter 4 Locality and Globality: Building a Comparative Analytical Framework in Migration and Urban Studies
      (pp. 60-82)

      In this chapter, we review the literature on migrants in cities and on neoliberalism and cities as a step towards building a comparative analytical framework on the relationship between migrants and urban restructuring and rescaling. We explore the reasons for the failure to study migrants as agents of the restructuring and rescaling of localities in ways that adequately address the global aspects of urban restructuring. In addition, we suggest that the debates among urban geographers about the utility of an analysis of the neoliberalism and the rescaling of city can enrich migration studies. In building on these debates we note...

  6. Part II: Migrants as Scale Makers:: Rescaling Urban Neighborhoods, Cities, and Their Regions

    • Chapter 5 Scalar Positioning and Immigrant Organizations: Asian Indians and the Dynamics of Place
      (pp. 85-103)

      On March 13, 2006, the Dallas Morning News published an article (Sanchez 2006) that focused on a bill introduced in the state of Kansas to repeal legislation allowing the children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state college tuition rates. While the bill did not make it out of committee, one Kansas representative commented, ʺUntil something is addressed at the federal level, we and other states are just floundering.ʺ A Utah representative, commenting on similar challenges in his state, noted, ʺWeʹre caught between a rock and a hard place. Immigration is a federal issue, but now that people keep coming, itʹs...

    • Chapter 6 Cities and the Social Construction of Hot Spots: Rescaling, Ghanaian Migrants, and the Fragmentation of Urban Spaces
      (pp. 104-122)

      In moving toward a cultural understanding of globalization, many scholars have overlooked the compression of time and distance highlighted by the trajectories of tourists visiting global cities (Abrahamson 2004; Krause and Petro 2003; Sassen 1991, 2000b). Tourists compress time and space between specific sites independently of the global rescaling of these cities. They do not experience an entire city but only particular parts of it, challenging us to more carefully examine specific locations within a city rather than treating the urban unit as a single, undifferentiated space. The phenomenon of global tourism thus challenges us to examine the way various...

    • Chapter 7 Transnational Migration and Rescaling Processes: The Incorporation of Migrant Labor
      (pp. 123-142)

      Sassuolo (Modena), July 2005: The police evacuate the Casbah, a building located in the Braida neighborhood that is inhabited mainly by migrant singles and families in a quite brutal manner. The neighborhood has become a ghetto and home to drug sellers and widespread petty crime. In an interview, the porter of the building, a man from Togo, states that he and the migrants living in the building were the first to call the police for help against the pushers: ʺWhenever I saw the drug sellers approaching the area I would call the police and the carabinieri and they would reply:...

    • Chapter 8 The Campaign for New Immigrants in Urban Regeneration: Imagining Possibilities and Confronting Realities
      (pp. 143-165)

      In 2001, Philadelphia city councilman James Kenney issued ʺA Plan to Attract New Philadelphians,ʺ a call to welcome immigrants to the city, as a solution to the cityʹs decline. The report, using the material prepared by the Pennsylvania Economy League (hereafter referred to as the Kenney/PEL report) in 1995, was followed by council hearings and media attention. This new initiative was the latest in a series of visions for revitalizing a city hit hard by deindustrialization. Searching for rescaling strategies that would reposition the city in a global urban hierarchy, Philadelphia competed with other cities to ʺenhance the locational advantages...

    • Chapter 9 Rescaling Processes in Two “Global” Cities: Festive Events as Pathways of Migrant Incorporation
      (pp. 166-189)

      This chapter presents two empirical examples that address the mutually constituting dynamics between migration and the restructuring and marketing of two global cities, New York and Paris. I focus on festive events as platforms for the negotiation of the inclusion and exclusion of newcomers and the transformation processes experienced by both the migrants and the cities as a result of migration. I use political and cultural events in these two cities as the entry points to understand the different pathways of migrant urban incorporation in these places. This chapter does not take pre-defined ethnic or religious groups as the units...

    • Chapter 10 Downscaled Cities and Migrant Pathways: Locality and Agency without an Ethnic Lens
      (pp. 190-212)

      Beginning in the 1990s, a conjunction of several forces in both Europe and the United States, including refugee resettlement policies, led to an increased dispersal of migrants beyond global or gateway cities. However, as we noted in chapter 4, most migration theory continues to be built on research conducted in cities that are thought to be global, world, or gateway, where researchers focus on well-established immigrant neighborhoods and ethnic institutions. The ethnic pathways of settlement and transnational connection followed by migrants in those cities have commonly been assumed to be representative of migrant experiences and their place-making practices, wherever they...

    • Chapter 11 Remaking Locality: Uneven Globalization and Transmigrants’ Unequal Incorporation
      (pp. 213-234)

      The photograph below was taken by Marcus Halevi, a professional photographer who documented the making of my visual ethnography Saudade. The documentary portrays the ways in which Portuguese immigrants have re-created their homelandʹs past in their everyday lives in an industrial American city (Feldman-Bianco 1991).¹ The photograph depicts an Azorean rural ritual—a Holy Ghost procession—juxtaposed against the landscape of a rather antiseptic American highway in New England. It evokes memories of my own astonishment at suddenly encountering a similar, albeit smaller, procession in 1987 during my preliminary fieldwork excursions into the streets of the small, historic city of...

    • 12. Afterword: An Ethnographic View of Size, Scale, and Locality
      (pp. 235-242)

      According to the editors of this book (introduction and chapter 4), city scale is rarely a variable in migration research. One wonders why. One of the reasons might be the fact that scale is a rather complex measure of recent theorization, comprising population size, economic importance, and global connectedness. The situation with size (no matter how it is burdened by the problems of defining group boundaries) as a simple measure of the population of cities and immigrants is no different. There are not many studies exploring the relationship between size and forms of migrant incorporation either, even though this relationship...

  7. Bibliography
    (pp. 243-266)
  8. Biographical Notes
    (pp. 267-270)
  9. Index
    (pp. 271-280)