Contemporary Migration Theories as Reflected in their Founding Texts

By Victor Piché, Catriona Dutreuilh

This article aims to explore the development of contemporary migration theories as reflected in some twenty founding texts brought together for the first time in a single volume (Piché V., 2013, Les théories de la migration, INED). Each text marks a major advance in the understanding of migration, its causes and its effects. Together, they bear witness to the emergence of theories which, after initially focusing on micro-individual approaches centred on cost-benefit analysis, gradually move on to incorporate macro-structural factors. Analysis of migration networks is a key component of explanatory frameworks and of studies to determine the effects of migration on economic development. A gendered approach to migration decision-making rounds off this analysis. The analytical framework developed here presents migration as a multifactorial and multidimensional phenomenon combining three main dimensions: origin and destination; micro, meso, macro and global analysis levels; economic, social and political aspects. Far from competing, these approaches each provide specific new insights. They must all be considered when seeking to explain migration or to assess migration policy.


  • Migration
  • Immigration
  • founding texts
  • migration theories
  • migration networks
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