The Changing Nature of Migration in the Twenty-First Century: Implications for Integration Strategies

  • Aristide R. Zolberg


While states still remain largely organized on the basis of seventeenth-century concepts of mutually exclusive territorially bound sovereignties that assume fixed populations (known as the Westphalian system, from the name of the treaty that ended Europe’s protracted religious wars), most of the people living today in these states are responding to contemporary conditions that facilitate movement, provide unprecedented information regarding opportunities in different locations, and vastly lowered costs of moving to them. Such movement is taken for granted when it occurs within countries. Internal migrations have grown steadily since the waning of feudalism and of control by landlords over their tenants. They have now reached the point where a very large part of the population of industrial and industrializing countries (notably China and India) work in places other than the communities of their birth and relocate fairly frequently in response to opportunities. In the United States, “going away to college” has become a middle-class rite de passage much as boarding a secondary school remains de rigueur for the upper middle class in Britain. However, human movement between countries is still considered a deviation from the norm, and receiving states expect newcomers to sever their ties to their country of origin once and for all, whereas they have no such expectations of foreign investors.


Affirmative Action Immigration Wave Religious Holiday American Mainstream Restrictionist Immigration Policy 
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© Gökçe Yurdakul and Y. Michal Bodemann 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aristide R. Zolberg

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