- Migration and Immigration: A Global View
This volume provides an introductory review of issues in migration, focusing especially on the late twentieth century. The subtitle, "a global view," is shared in ten other volumes in a series on current social issues, including teen violence, child abuse, and women's rights. The nature of the global view, however, is restricted to a scattering of national studies across the continents, without development of any overriding interpretation or analysis. The result is a book which is of some use at the introductory level, but in which the eclectic descriptions come with little guidance on how they should be analyzed. The introduction and fourteen chapters do indeed address a range of issues in migration, but they stop short of showing global linkages or even organized comparisons among the cases. While the authors stem from a range of disciplines, the focus on a general audience leads to minimal analysis in any discipline. The introductory chapter provides two sorts of categorization: a periodization of world migration into colonial, industrial, and industrial periods, and summaries of contemporary migration experience for four world regions. Implicitly, it makes clear that the book will be descriptive rather than interpretive.
Nevertheless, three chapters stood out for this reader. In the chapter on Japan, James Stanlaw develops a terminology based on "Ins," "Outs," and "Back-and-Forths" that reveals the fine-structure of several overlapping patterns of Japanese migration. On Ireland, Sean Kenny provides a compressed but coherent narrative of migration from the time of Viking invasions through the difficult days of famine to the current emigration and prospective return of Irish executives in the new age of Irish prosperity. In a chapter on the Netherlands, Twanna A. Hines traces the shifts and interactions of immigration and emigration during the centuries of succeeding waves of prosperity and depression in the Dutch economy.
Beyond these three strong chapters, the rest of the book consists of eclectic summaries. The chapters have a common organizational framework—each begins with a country profile, a migration "vignette," and an introduction to migration issues; a second section reviews the history of migration issues. The third and principal section addresses political, social, and economic dimensions [End Page 522] of current migration issues; and each chapter concludes with a section on the future. The authors, however, have applied this common outline in vastly different ways. For fully half of the chapters, the section on history centers on the period after 1970, though studies of the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, and Puerto Rico are exceptions. Chapters on Australia, Brazil, France, and the United States focus entirely on immigration, while chapters on China, Cuba, Ghana, and the Philippines focus entirely on emigration. Three chapters complicate the interpretation a bit by adding return migration to the description of emigration—for Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Tanzania. This book, though edited with some care, comes across as a set of missed opportunities. The chapters on Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, and the United States form a potential nexus. These chapters, along with parts of the introduction and the chapter on Chinese migration to the U.S., could have been linked to show aspects of a global migratory system in recent years. The chapters of Stanlaw, Kenney, and Hines provided three contrasting models showing that chapters of fifteen pages could get to the core of major migration issues, providing basic information and sophisticated interpretation for a general audience. Otherwise, this volume can be seen as a collection of encyclopedia entries on aspects of migration in recent years, providing interesting facts and some promising citations.