What if Networks Move? Dynamic Social Networking in the Context of African Migration to Europe
until further notice
SourcePopulation, Space and Place, 21, 8, (2015), pp. 809-819
19 mei 2014
Article / Letter to editor
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Population, Space and Place
SubjectShaping and Changing of Places and Spaces
As a welcome alternative to economic explanations of migration, the social network has become a key concept in migration studies. However, by maintaining a static conceptualisation of networks (as grid-like structures) and by suggesting that social capital automatically derives from networks, we tend to fall into a form of network determinism. As an alternative, this paper makes the case for a practice approach to social networks that recognise the changeable nature of networks and the social endeavours that are needed to accumulate social capital. In so doing, I first revisit the work of Granovetter and Bourdieu in order to explore existing practice elements in their network approaches. I subsequently combine these insights with practice-oriented migration studies. This analysis results in four hitherto undertheorised elements that provide a foundation for the advocated networking approach. Finally, I illustrate the analytical value of this approach by discussing the networking practices of sub-Saharan African migrants en route for the European Union.
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