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Socio-spatial scales as social boundaries? Or: How do migration studies profit from including ‘space’ in the sociology of social boundaries


  • Anna Amelina

    (1Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Germany)


Starting from the critique of methodological nationalism the article questions the conventional limitation of migration studies on social inequalities imposed by the nation state context. First, it highlights the conceptual shortcomings of assimilation approaches which mainly analyse hierarchies of social positions within the settings of the immigration countries. Second, it reviews migration research which addresses inequality patterns at the global and the transnational scale. It analyses both bodies of literature which have in common their inability to explicitly address the interaction between particular socio-spatial scales. This is the reason for the necessity to include the scale approach in migration studies. Moreover, to adopt the scale theory into inequality research, spatial scales, such as the global and local, the national and transnational must be re-conceptualized in terms of the social boundaries approach. In sum, the article exemplifies how migration studies on social hierarchies profit from under-standing ‘space’ as a distinct set of categorical distinctions powerful in social practice.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Amelina, 2012. "Socio-spatial scales as social boundaries? Or: How do migration studies profit from including ‘space’ in the sociology of social boundaries," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 9(3), pages 273-288, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:journl:v:9:y:2012:i:3:p:273-288

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brenner, Neil, 2004. "New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199270064.
    2. Philip Kelly & Tom Lusis, 2006. "Migration and the transnational habitus: evidence from Canada and the Philippines," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(5), pages 831-847, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Amelina & Andreas Vasilache, 2014. "Editorial: The shadows of enlargement: Theorising mobility and inequality in a changing Europe," Migration Letters, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 11(2), pages 109-124, May.


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