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How Does the M&D Frame Relate to the Integration Process, and Vice Versa?

In this final part of the chapter we link the discussion on M&D to the main theme of this book, integration. In doing so, we investigate a relationship between two areas of policy discussion—that on the integration of migrants in Europe and other advanced countries, and that on development in poor countries—that are usually kept separate. We also need to remind ourselves that integration is a multi-sphered process, including amongst others the legal-political, socio-economic, and culturalreligious realms, each of which contains various aspects, for example, housing, employment, education, voting rights, membership in ethnic organizations, and so on. We start by continuing the framing of migration within a transnational perspective, as this allows us to consider migrants' simultaneous acceptance as part of different social worlds—those of their origin and destination society and possibly, too, of a third, diasporic social space. From an integration perspective, two questions then arise. First, what is the relationship between migrants' integration process, or their “state” of integration, in the host society, and the impact this has on their capacity or willingness to instigate or participate in development in their countries, regions, and communities of origin? Second, for those who return migrate, how does the reintegration process proceed? This latter question has been little studied.

In their essay on African migrants in Europe, Grillo and Mazzucato (2008) argue that such migrants are “doubly engaged” in both places, “here” and “there”. It must be stressed that not all migrants lead transnational lives. Some eventually become assimilated and detached from their origin countries, while others, refugees, may not be able to engage with their homeland which, for them, may no longer exist as such. However, those who do live transnationally experience this double engagement in three domains: material livelihoods, family relations, and socio-cultural identity (Grillo and Mazzucato 2008, 185–191). In her more detailed study of Ghanaian migrants based in the Netherlands, Mazzucato (2008) shows that they are active in the labour market and participate in the Dutch economy at the neighbourhood, city, and national levels. At the same time, and more importantly for them, they invest back in Ghana in housing, businesses, and family members' wellbeing and education, including donations to funerals. They are thus economically (as well as socially and culturally) integrated in both places. In one sense this is a zero-sum relationship: economic resources invested in the Netherlands, for instance, on accommodation, living costs, and consumer goods, cannot be deployed in Ghana. On the other hand, there is also a positive synergy in that the more economically successful a migrant is in the Netherlands, the more resources are generated for “development” back home. This leads us directly to a more formal theoretical and empirical examination of the key question: How does “integration” impact on home-country development?

One interesting framework for answering this question is Cerase's (1974) model of the relationship between integration and return migration. Based on a case study of Italian return migration from the USA in the early post-war decades (243 returnees were interviewed in various parts of Italy), Cerase tried to demonstrate that the impact of return was dependent on the time spent abroad and, in particular, on the stage of the integration process that the migrant had reached at the time when the return took place. The author proposed a model with four outcome phases. The first phase is when the migrant fails to adjust to the new society (integration is thus minimal) and return takes place after a very short time (within a year or so). Upon return, such migrants are absorbed as if they had never left. Cerase calls this the return of failure and posits that this has no impact on development. In phase two, the immigrant stays abroad longer, but remains oriented towards the homeland and the notion of return there. Some integration in US society takes place, but not much. This type of returnee has their sights fixed on a return to the old ways, but with an improved socio-economic status due to the ability to purchase agricultural land or to build a new house. Whilst some new attitudes and behaviours have been absorbed from the USA, such as a greater respect for social justice and a more open and informal mentality, the developmental effects of this kind of return remain limited. This is termed the return of conservatism. For those who remain abroad yet longer, the integration process becomes more advanced and migrants become increasingly attuned to US society and its ways of life and values. This also diminishes the likelihood of return, but for those who do go back, the potential for real developmental impact is greater. This third phase, the return of innovation, brings new ideas, energies, and business practices which, provided there is fertile terrain for their application in the homeland context, can indeed stimulate development. Such returnees are, however, a minority in the overall return-migrant population, and their desire and potential for change are often stifled by the entrenched power of local non-migrant elites. The final stage of return is that of retirement, when well-integrated migrants feel the pull of nostalgia at the end of their working lives; but, being economically inactive, their developmental impact is limited.

Although the Cerase model is intuitively attractive and logical, and has been much cited, its limitations are obvious. Its interpretation of development is largely “economic modernization”, and it reduces integration to a one-dimensional linear process. A more robust and nuanced conceptualization of integration is developed in studies that statistically model various dimensions of integration according to a variety of transnational orientations towards the home country including remittancesending, paying regular visits, and attitudes towards return migration (see Cela et al. 2013; De Haas and Fokkema 2011; Fokkema et al. 2013). What these studies tend to demonstrate is that migrants who are economically well integrated in the host country are more likely to have meaningful transnational engagement with their origin-country society, including sending remittances and other actions with positive developmental outcomes, such as business investment. On the other hand, migrants who are socio-culturally well integrated are more likely to become detached from their home country and therefore less actively involved in transnational activities that might lead to development. This contrasting correlation—positive between economic integration, transnationalism, and development and negative for socio-cultural integration's impact—seems to hold for both firstand secondgeneration migrants, according to the studies cited above, which are based on a variety of migrant groups in different countries[1]. Alongside these quantitative analyses are studies that take a more intuitive approach. Erdal and Oeppen (2013) describe the relationship between integration and transnationalism as a “balancing act” whereby the migrant straddles two societies. Reviewing the literature, Erdal and Oeppen (2013, 875) find that outcomes are highly context-specific, depending on place, type of migration, and within the same migration system, also varying over time (see also Snel et al. 2006). One issue with Erdal and Oeppen's analysis, and with other studies that examine the integration–transnationalism interface, is the extent to which transnationalism equates to “development” of the origin society. Where remittances and investments are involved, the link is fairly clear (albeit dependent on how these financial flows are utilized), but given that some authors (Levitt and Glick Schiller 2004; Vertovec 1999) view transnationalism as both “ways of being” and “ways of belonging”, the developmental aspect is less obvious.

The fact remains that further research is sorely needed on the relationship between integration (and its multifaceted elements) and engagement in homecountry development. Shifting understandings of what integration actually is, and what policies should be applied along the spectrum from multiculturalism to assimilation, serve only to complicate the M&D relationship. Critics of multiculturalism argue that it has proven detrimental to economic integration, leading instead to cultural and religious separatism, which threatens national identity. The widespread view that multiculturalism has somehow “failed” leads many countries to adopt more assimilationist-oriented policies towards immigrants. What implications this has for the developmental potential of migration is not clear. There is the argument, advanced by Castles et al. (2014, 80):

[I]mmigrant-receiving governments can increase the developmental potential of migration by lowering the thresholds for immigration… and through favouring the socioeconomic integration of migrants by countering discrimination and racism on the labour market and giving them access to housing and education as well as residency and (dual) citizenship rights.

Yet, as we also noted, recent trends towards more demand-driven temporary and circular migration ignore the integration dimension and do nothing to foster longterm settlement rights.

The final question addressed in this chapter concerns the phenomenon of migrants' reintegration in their home countries, and the developmental context of this process. This question was broached early on in the return–development debate (see, e.g., Van Gendt 1977) but, to the best of our knowledge, it has never been thoroughly investigated, neither at the theoretical nor at the empirical level[2]. Theoretically, the key questions would seem to be the following: Does integration into the immigration country's host society imply a process of “de-integration” from the home-country society? Is gradual re-acceptance as part of the (home) society contingent on a gradual loss of acceptance in the former destination? Or does the opposite apply, namely, that the personal skills and social and human capital required for rapid and successful acceptance as part of a new host society are also effective in enabling a smooth reintegration upon return? Early sociological studies of return migration—for example, by Saloutos (1956) on returning Greek-Americans and Lopreato (1967) on the impact of return migration on a South Italian village— tend to show that long-absent migrants face difficulties in reintegrating back home.

At best they formed a nouveau riche group interposed between the traditional elites and the peasant or working class from which they had been drawn. Local people often viewed them with a mixture of suspicion and jealousy. But these studies are from an earlier era of long-distance migration, when the socio-economic and cultural divide between sending and receiving countries constituted a wider time–space gap. Nowadays, with many migrants engaged in more intense transnational circuits of personal travel, financial flows, and other transactions, as well as the globalization of information and cultural codes, the outcome is likely to be different. However, the wealth of theoretical concepts and analytical tools that have been applied to study the process of migrant integration in Europe and elsewhere has yet to be turned to the study of return migrants' reintegration. Here is a major empirical challenge for migration studies scholars working in a developmental context.

  • [1] To be specific, Cela et al. (2013) look at Eastern Europeans (Poles, Ukrainians, Moldovans, Romanians, and Albanians) in Italy; De Haas and Fokkema (2011) study African migrants in Southern Europe (Moroccans and Senegalese in Spain, Egyptians and Ghanaians in Italy); whilst Fokkema et al. (2013) examine the remittance behaviour of second-generation Turks, Moroccans, and people of Yugoslav heritage in several European cities.
  • [2] Indicative of this lacuna is the recent Metropolis public seminar Migrant Reintegration and Homeland Development, Ottowa, 14 March 2014, designed to 'discuss the development potential offered by the continuum of migrant integration, return, and reintegration into the homeland'.
 
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