What did you expect

Published by Bloomsbury Academic

Don Flynn on Migration Policy

Review : Human Migration and the Refugee Crisis – Origins and Global Impact by Eliot Dickinson published Bloomsbury Academic

Anyone interested in exploring learned accounts of migration in the modern world is not being starved of material at the present moment. Eliot Dickenson’s contribution is in line with the tone of many other narrations, seeing a “crisis” being generated by the volume of people movement and the lack of capacity of host countries to absorb the newcomers. 

Whilst others lament the fact that their native societies are being challenged in this way, Dickenson advances the view that the pressure to move is entirely predictable and is only going to increase in the immediate future. Climate change, and the chaos that will ensue, is the threat looming large, made worse by the fact that the countries responsible for heating up the planet are showing themselves to be so reluctant to change their ways.

He goes back before the days when scientists were warning of the dangers looming as a consequence of planetary warming.  Four hundred years prior to this awareness Europeans were changing the way human lives were lived by venturing far beyond the boundaries of their own continent and establishing new nations.  New patterns of economic behaviour followed these migrations and the pioneers found that the viability of their ventures required labour forces which were not found in situ. Centuries of importation of enslaved people followed, and then more Europeans taking the journey as opportunities for greater prosperity were presented.

It was a tumultuous experience, with enmities forged between groups branding themselves as natives and other immigrants who followed them just a generation or so behind.  Racism took a firm grip on moods, with ethnicities other than one’s own being held to blame for the problems that arose. All of these bedded into the world we have today.

If climate change is the driving force yet to achieve maximum thrust, the poverty of much of the world and the chronic instability of political regimes in countries where development is stalling, is on hand to explain what is going on at present. Don’t expect anything to change soon.

Dickenson has set out a highly readable account of these developments in a book that will help people yet to immerse themselves in the details of migration studies to come up to speed.  But at the formidable price of £50 it is only likely to be accessible if your school or college library purchases a copy ! 

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