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Bringing Hirschman Back In: Conceptualizing Transnational Migration as a Reconfiguration of “Exit”, “Voice”, and “Loyalty”


  • Bert Hoffmann

    () (GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies)


Albert O. Hirschman’s scheme of “exit and voice,” long a classic in the study of migration and its political implications, was conceived within the framework of “methodological nationalism.” However, the rise of migrant transnationalism is eroding the classic migration paradigm. Combining theoretical considerations with empirical insights from Latin American cases, this paper argues that a critical reappraisal of Hirschman’s scheme provides a helpful heuristic tool for conceptualizing the new character of today’s transnational migration. Whereas in the traditional approach to international migration the options of exit, voice, and loyalty are considered to be mutually exclusive, transnational migration can be defined precisely by the overlapping and simultaneity of these categories.

Suggested Citation

  • Bert Hoffmann, 2008. "Bringing Hirschman Back In: Conceptualizing Transnational Migration as a Reconfiguration of “Exit”, “Voice”, and “Loyalty”," GIGA Working Paper Series 91, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:91

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    1. Giandomenico Majone, 1993. "The European Community Between Social Policy and Social Regulation," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(2), pages 153-170, June.
    2. Goldstein, Judith & Kahler, Miles & Keohane, Robert O. & Slaughter, Anne-Marie, 2000. "Introduction: Legalization and World Politics," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 385-399, June.
    3. Gernot Grabher & David Stark, 1997. "Organizing Diversity: Evolutionary Theory, Network Analysis and Postsocialism," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(5), pages 533-544.
    4. Lutz, Ellen L. & Sikkink, Kathryn, 2000. "International Human Rights Law and Practice in Latin America," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(03), pages 633-659, June.
    5. March, James G. & Olsen, Johan P., 1998. "The Institutional Dynamics of International Political Orders," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 943-969, September.
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    migration; transnationalism; exit and voice; Latin America; methodological nationalism;

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