Globalisation and migration Dr Simon Oakes a-level Principal Examiner Bancroft’s School Lecture outline



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Globalisation and migration

  • Dr Simon Oakes
  • A-level Principal Examiner
  • Bancroft’s School

Lecture outline

  • What is globalisation?
  • Case Study 1: International elite migration
  • Case Study 2: Crossing the Mediterranean
  • Case Study 3: The Morecambe Bay tragedy
  • Case Study 4: Poland, the UK & the EU
  • Key Concept: cultural hybridism
  • Case Study 5: internal migration within China
  • Round-up

What is globalisation?

Factors accelerating globalisation

  • How many of these factors also impact upon potential rates of migration?

Case Study 1 International elites

  • Elite A minority population group with some combination of: high levels of wealth; social status; political influence; cultural influence. Can migrate easily (e.g. from Brazil to EU) under Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP)
  • Examples:
  • Footballers (330 Premiership players)
  • Musicians, actors and writers
  • Financial sector workers and entrepreneurs
  • High-skilled professionals (surgeons, lawyers, architects, etc.)
  • Academics (including geographers!)
  • Politicians

Elites are often in the news

Case study 2 Crossing the Mediterranean

What is the story for poor global migrants?

  • The poor are not welcomed into ‘Fortress Europe’ in the same way that elites are
  • They take great risks (perhaps without knowing)
  • They are exploited by ‘people-traffickers’ who take their life savings in exchange for passage
  • Vessels used to cross the Mediterranean from Africa are unsafe, thousands have drowned
  • Similar stories can be told about poor Mexicans heading for the USA, or Burmese entering Thailand
  • While globalisation has made it easier to move money and goods around the world, it is not true that all people are free to move
  • It is easier for people with money and skills to migrate than it is for the poor – there is not a ‘level playing field’ for global migrants

Case study 3 The Morecambe tragedy

Morecambe Bay 2004

  • 23 Chinese migrants drowned in Morecambe Bay in February 2004
  • They were working at night, harvesting cockles
  • They were cut off by rising tides. Morecambe Bay is famous for its tidal range of several kilometres and the speed of incoming tides over a 1:400 beach gradient
  • Dangers were not understood by non English-speakers
  • Most died of hypothermia
  • They had been living in Liverpool. Sixty workers rented an 11-room house from ‘snakehead’ gang leaders
  • In another sad story, 58 Chinese suffocated while being smuggled in the back of a lorry bound for Dover from Zeebrugge in 2000

Further reading at Geography In The News

Student practice answer

  • Using examples, describe and explain the characteristics of migrants moving between wealthier nations. (4 marks)
  • International migration takes place at two levels of the economy. Firstly, there are highly skilled and often very rich individuals who are invited to work overseas by Transnational Corporations or governments. They are probably young adults or are middle-aged and are likely to be approaching the peak of their profession e.g. Elano, the Brazilian mid-fielder. In addition, there are the extremely poor (and usually unskilled) migrants who are desperate to better themselves at any cost, e.g. Somalians who attempt to gain entry to Europe by crossing the Mediterranean in dangerous boats, or Mexicans crossing into the USA.

Global migration: the special case of the EU

  • As one of the ‘four freedoms’ of the EU, each European citizen may take up and pursue employment in the territory of another member state under the same conditions as the nationals of the host state (EU Treaty Art. 1 & Reg. 1612/68)
  • The EU is made up of 27 states (nearly half a billion people)
  • Members include Germany, the UK, France, Poland and Estonia
  • Anyone can work and live anywhere!

Case Study 4 From Poland to the UK

  • VOLUME 650,000 Poles have entered the UK (2004+)
  • CHARACTERISTICS They bring a range of skills and occupations, including dentists and builders
  • DEMOGRAPHICS The majority are aged 18-30 and significant numbers are having children while in the UK
  • LONG-TERM Many will remain in the long-term but many more claim they will eventually return to Poland
  • NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES Poland suffers from economic and social losses as a result of this migration
  • POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES Remittances are sent back to families to Poland
  • FURTHER CONSEQUENCES The Polish government is recruiting Indian workers to help it prepare for Euro 2012 football championship
  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2110439,00.html

Further reading at Geography In The News

Student practice answer

  • Using examples, explain how international out-migration can effect the economy and society of sending nations. (6 marks)
  • International migration can have both positive and negative effects. Turning firstly to the economics, there is often a loss of key workers like doctors which has a knock on effect on other areas of the economy like retailing as less money will be in circulation. This can cause a negative multiplier effect and result in rising unemployment. In Poland, a million workers have left since it joined the EU in 2004 and many clubs and bars are struggling due to the lack of young customers. However, some migrants may repatriate their wages which is positive. Socially, the loss of young people (18-35) may impact negatively on education – if numbers fall, university courses might have to close. Artistic and cultural scenes could suffer if talented people migrate elsewhere – this has happened in Poland where many of its musicians have moved to London. However, migrants may return later with new ideas and skills that they have learned while abroad - which could have long-term positive effects for Polish arts and education.

Consequences for receiving nations

  • Key concept of cultural hybridism
  • When two cultures meet (e.g. as a result of migration or globalising forces) it is not necessarily true that one set of cultural preferences, beliefs and practices will always ‘overwrite’ and replace the other (this has sometimes been called McDonaldsisation)
  • Instead, a new culture can develop which is a mixture – or hybrid form – of the originals
  • The process of change is called glocalisation

Migrant imports (no hybridism)

Hybrid culture

  • Food Anglo-Thai fusion
  • Music Hip-Hop
  • Art Manga superheroes
  • Literature Jean Rhys
  • Film & TV Ang Lee
  • Any others….?

American rock band, grandsons of Armenian refugees. Fusion of US metal & Middle-eastern folk styles?

  • American rock band, grandsons of Armenian refugees. Fusion of US metal & Middle-eastern folk styles?
  • http://musicbox.sonybmg.com/video-player/system_of_a_down/aerials

Globalisation and internal migration

  • The most significant global migration movement bar none
  • 300 million rural migrants now live in China’s cities
  • Half a million people arrive in Brazil’s Sao Paulo annually
  • Half the world is now urban
  • So what does this type of migration have to do with globalising forces?

Global forces at work within a nation

Case study 5 Dongguan Roboraptor

Student practice answer

  • Examine the impact of globalisation on different nations’ employment structures. (A2 essay)
  • Main theme is the movement of firms, branch plants and inward investment patterns – bringing new work to some places, taking it away from others
  • Also mention the movement of significant numbers of key workers, altering employment structures of receiving and sending nations
  • Suggest that globalisation has a role in the movement of (ex-primary sector) migrants to cities, where they become manufacturing or service sector workers

Concluding remarks

  • The inter-connections between globalisation and migration make us think about:
  • Scale (internal or international?)
  • Consequences (for whom? what type?)
  • Complexity (there are elites to consider, as well as poor migrants)
  • Critical thinking (do we see ‘exporting’ or ‘re-writing’ and ‘re-imagining’ of cultures?)
  • An unfair world (when the rich can move about more easily)
  • Citizenship (are we global citizens or Foreign Nationals?)


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