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Internal Migration

Challenges in Governance and Integration

Edited By Shane Joshua Barter and William Ascher

Internal Migration: Challenges in Governance and Integration focuses on the challenges associated with internal migration across the developing world. While international migration captures significant attention, less attention has been paid to those migrating within recognized national borders. The sources of internal migration are not fundamentally different from international migration, as migrants may be pushed by violence, disasters, state policies, or various opportunities. Although they do not cross international borders, they may still cross significant internal borders, with cultural differences and perceived state favoritism generating a potential for "sons of the soil" conflicts. As citizens, internal migrants are in theory to be provided legal protection by host states, however this is not always the case, and sometimes their own states represent the cause of their displacement. The chapters in this book explain how international organizations, host states, and host communities may navigate the many challenges associated with internal migration.

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9. Vexed Returns: Vietnamese Returnee Interactions With Home and State (Ivan V. Small)


9. Vexed Returns: Vietnamese Returnee Interactions With Home and State

Ivan V. Small

Central Connecticut State University

Since the 1990s there has been a rapid growth of what have been called “diaspora ministries” in countries across the Global South with histories of extensive overseas migration. Such institutions are designed to cultivate linkages between the state and its so-called overseas citizenry (Mendoza 2009). Some states have categorized those living overseas, either temporarily or permanently, as an additional citizen segment “department” of the population, replete with rights and responsibilities (Glick-Schiller and Fouron 2001). Such diaspora ministries highlight the inescapable necessity of mobility in a globally interdependent world.

State policies to manage multi-directional migration across varying channels and shades of legality also betray the challenges and limits of such governance. Even where the task seems straightforward, the cultivation of relations between the diaspora—in any form—and the homeland involves significant confusion among diaspora ministry officials on how exactly to go about the task. Despite a generalized discourse around “return migration,” the majority of periphery states with significant migrant flows find that their power to influence physical and by extension financial flows in a complex global system dominated by core power interests is limited. But the most fundamental paradox is the fact that there are multiple types of migrants, with complex corresponding relations to the homeland. As Xiang, Yeoh, and Toyota (2013, 4) point out in their analysis of return migration in Asia,...

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