Mobility and migration
It is of importance to understand the concept of mobility and migration since it is a crucial part of this paper as well as the basis for many of the studies done prior. Thus, the theoretical chapter will start with a brief history of the concept and its impact on the contemporary life, and then the following chapters on polymedia and cosmopolitanism will go deeper into the concept. This will be the outline due to the fact that the studies discussed in those chapters have migration as a base, hence covers previous studies on the subject. When one dives deep into the field, the theoretic problem of migration emerges, since it is too broad for being a single theory and the need for more interdisciplinary studies grow due to the diverse nature of the field (King, 2012). Migration is a fluid field, and it becomes hard to study since the different types of migration groups easily can transform and people move from one group of migrants to another on a daily basis (ibid.).
Movement of people is nothing new, in fact it goes as far back in time as to when humans moved depending on the seasons, the so called seasonal migration in agriculture. King (2012) ascribe the spread of different inventions to the human movements throughout time and also claim that the way it re-shapes our societies is the main reason and argument of its importance. This notion is derived from Urry (2007), who claims that mobility actually re-shapes what traditionally is know as the western society, through the diversity it brings with it. This movement and growing diversity have also brought with it “new flows of media” (Thussu, 2006, p. 1).
Movement of people can be categorised into sub-categories of mobility and migration. Mobility, according to Knox and Marston, is “the ability to move from one place to another, either permanently or temporarily.” whereas the concept of migration is “a long-distance move to a new location.” (2010, p.107). With temporary migration, the migrant should have the intention to return ‘home’, whilst permanent migration is, just as the word implies, permanent (King, 2012). King also presents a third group, seasonal migrant, a group mainly consisting of workers in “agriculture, tourism and construction” (King, p. 7). Potter identifies that there also are those who differentiate between migration and circulation (2008). Migration is said to be a more permanent move, whilst circulation is considered to be shorter (e.g. guest workers or daily commute), an idea that made King (2012) present the thought that a migrant is a person who spend more than a year in another country (to separate all these versions of mobilities). Migration can be both forced or voluntary and it is divided into to three separate categories called immigration, emigration and internal migration. The first one refers to moving to a specific place whilst the second means moving from a specific place, what Knox and Marston (2010) also calls ‘in-migration’ and ‘out-migration’. The third one, internal migration, which is more locally rooted and means moves within a certain country or region, will not be covered in this paper since the focus is on Swedish expatriates, although the rural-urban movement, that internal migration mostly consists of, make an interesting case as it might be seen as “a prelude for cross-border migration” (Castles, de Haas & Miller, 2013, p. 26).
The reasons for migration are as many as there are migrants, but particularly noted reasons are financial situations (employment) or political reasons (Knox & Marston, 2010). With all of these possible reasons, new forms of mobility appears, such as repeated circular movement and retirement migration, as an addition to the other forms and with this new transnationalism plenty of migrants end up with economic and social relations in more than one society or country at once (Castles et al., 2013). In this paper, the voluntary migration from Sweden is emphasised. The voluntary migration, just like all other types of migration, is highly controlled on governmental levels because, according to Knox and Marston, migration affects “political, economic and cultural conditions on national, regional and local levels” (2010, p.107). The patterns of migration are clearly visible between countries and reflects on their “social, political and economic development” (Ahmad, 2004, p.797).
Throughout this chapter, the concept of mobility and migration will be discussed in general terms in order to highlight the contrast with the common concept of human movement and the version of emigration that is key for this study. First, the reasons for moving abroad (the so called push- and pull factors) will be discussed in the context of international voluntary migration and labour migration before moving on to power structures in a transnational world, that directly affect and contribute to the human capital flight. Finally, the group of migrants that the survey respondents are part of will be introduced as elite migrants.
International voluntary migration and labour migration
The United Nations Department of Economics and Societal Affairs (UNDESA) counted that the number of international migrants (i.e. people who have been living abroad for at least one full year) have more than doubled the last 50 years, from 100 million in 1960 to 214 million in 2010 (Castels et al., 2013). This number does, however, include refugees. As a recent report from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) states, about 65.3 million people are living their lives as refugees (Edwards, 2016), but with that number in bind, it becomes clear that the majority of the UNDESA number is made up by voluntary migration. The question of what draws people away from their home however, remains.
Ahmad (2004) brings forth the issue of why a person choose to migrate and why a particular new home is selected and through this he draws the same conclusion as Knox and Marston does; the issue of push and pull factors. The push-pull model was the primary model in the academic field of migration until at least the 1960s, and “reflect the neoclassical economics paradigm, based on principles of utility maximisation, rational choice, factor-price differentials between regions and countries, and labour mobility.” (King, 2012, p. 13). Following the notion of these three authors, it is clear that push factors is the common name for the reasons one might have to leave the country of origin behind, whilst pull factors is the reasons why one chose the new home. These factors can be individual, such as romanticising a particular place or having friends and family in the new country, to a more nationwide problem with employment or high wage differentials. The idea of a push-pull model did not die in the latter half of the twentieth century, even though new models have emerged, it still does exist in all cases of migration, but if they are beyond reasons of life and death, they are often closely liked to international voluntary migration, a category where temporary labour migration is found. Speaking frankly, it can be seen as a sort of pro et contra list in the paradigm of structural functionalism, as it is seen from a macro-level. And it is the reason of how the model works on both micro and macro level that still makes it relevant. The push-pull model is relevant in this study, since it highlightens and underlines the difference between the group of migrant our respondents are part of and the more researched groups from the developing South.
The temporary labour migration, often spoken of simply as migrant workers or guest workers, tend to have a negative ring to its name, but might in fact be a reason as to why the economic situation in some developing countries is improving. Knox and Marston (2010) lists temporary labour migration as one of the reasons as to why some poorer countries do have very low unemployment rates and since many guest workers tend to send money home to their families, the country’s economic situation improves as well. Human labour has thus become one of the most profitable commodities of our time. When looking into temporarily labour migration, it is most common that the guest workers do come from a developing country and take up residency in a developed one instead, in some cases for years and years or even generations (Gorney, 2014).
Moving further into migration theory, it becomes evident that one thing affect human movement more than any other, what might be seen as the root of all other reasons; politics. The foundation of this is mainly found in theories of globalisation that emerged in the late 1980’s, when cross-border trade agreements and foreign direct investment (FDI) emerged at the end of the Cold War (Castles et al., 2013; Urry, 2003a). The ongoing globalisation process can be seen as a mean of power, strengthening Northern dominance and finance, as well as MNC:s as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Bank (Hardt & Negri, 2000; Petras & Veltmeyer, 2000). The power of the capitalistic approach in migration through globalisation and trade do become obvious when venturing further into the selectiveness of international voluntary migration; the prices for visas, education and other expenses (e.g. travel and housing) exclude certain groups from mobility (Castles et al., 2013). As a mean to control influx of human capital, many countries and unions in the industrialised world, e.g. the EU and the United States, did introduce the concept of employer sanctions during the late 1970’s. Employer sanctions are meant to protect the employees from being exploited as cheap labour and punish those employers who do not abide, but have been known to backlash (ibid.). The need for proper procedure of employment, visas and paperwork make it hard on those born in the developing world to part take in the global job market and often force them to leave their countries of origin on dangerous pathways in search of a brighter future. Far to often is this dream not realised and since the migrants in that case have not gone through the proper channels, finding help could prove to be hard (Gorney, 2014). There is also another problem with the definition of voluntary migration, nicely presented by Sales (2007), and that is that a war or conflict can bring forth an economic catastrophe in a country, but without people being categorised as refugees. These people do automatically become classified as voluntary migrants even if the situation that made them cross nation-state borders might be less than voluntary. For this study, this poses a problem. What do we then call the emigrants from a developed HIC, since this paper do not take into consideration whether or not the new country of residency is a HIC or LIC. We call them elite migrants.
According to Smith and Favell (2006), there are a lot of academics out there who refer to highly skilled or rich migrants, although they mainly are seen as a mobile elite and not migrants. This is not an issue of class per se, but rather a group that is fortunate enough to move on their own terms and conditions (Jansson, 2016b), which (naturally) can be linked to higher income and an upbringing in an industrialised country. The classic theory on elites does not fully cover the topic in modern days and, as stated by Birtchnell and Caletrío, “elites have been widely researched in the past, but the lapse in quality and memorability of research over the last three decades stem from lack of clarity about the subject in question” (2014, p. 2). Voluntary travel, especially for other reasons than work-related, is a rare luxury granted few people, if seen on a global population scale, something that Urry (2003b) found to be a symbol of success and power. However, in this paper, the term mobile elite will not be used, due to the fact that it mostly involves the top-one percent, or wealthy individuals who travel in business or first class, and these people, even though privileged in life, still remain a minority far from what could be seen as ‘reality’ (Birtchnell and Caletrío, 2014). Rather, elite migrants will be used, drawing from the concept of mobile elites. Elite migrants include those who move, instead of just travel, but do so by free will. The elite migrants consists of people brought up in a stable, industrialised northern/western society and whom could easily stay in the country of origin without any difficulties but just as easily can become transnational cosmopolitans, if they so chose. They are not just a powerful elite, even though some of them might be highly educated, wealthy or management directors, rather they are a mix of people, who live far beyond the poverty line. Many of those who do make a career in HIC are highly mobile, e.g. compulsory trips and stays abroad in order to obtain particular skills, experiences and /or merits are common. International mobility is thus not always an active personal choice, but rather something that is included in social advancement. Hence, it is a far more privileged form of migration than large parts of the global migration flows. It is a bit risky to say that all of the respondents in this study fall under the category of elite migrants, since there might be respondents who are lacking in resources and who venture out in the world for that reason. As an example, it is a common phenomenon four young adults in Sweden work in Norway or Denmark due to the employment situation (Hanaeus & Wahlström, 2014). There might also, due to the fact that Sweden have a rather high influx of immigrants (Statistiska Centralbyrån, 2016), be those respondents who return to their countries of origin, but who kept their Swedish citizenship.
However, one thing that can be argued, regardless of these possible issues, these people are those who can be considered to have a high network capital. Acevedo (2007) describes network capital as a way to measure how humans interact over distance and that due to the possibilities it bring forth in connecting with numerous people for different causes, regardless of physical location, it is one of the fastest growing ideas on how the globalised world is interlinked. In the next section this idea will be briefly outlined, to bridge the respondents in this study and the second theoretical concept; polymedia.
The network society and network capital
When it comes to wealth of a country, there are more than one form of capital to consider. The traditional ones, financial capital, natural capital, physical capital and human capital have been joined by what has become known as social capital. This social capital is highly interesting when combined with the thought that we live in an Information Age, and particularly through the context of network societies (Acevedo, 2007). In the second edition of his classical book The Rise of the Network Society, from 2010, Castells comes to the conclusion that “While the networking form of social organizations has existed in other times and spaces, the new information technology paradigm provides the material basis for its pervasive expansion throughout the entire social structure” (n.p.5).
The spread of digital information and communication technologies (ICTs) provoked changes in everything from culture and economy to politics and social life, and it is that change that often is described when talking about the network society. In the sphere of the network society emerged a new form of capital that, according to Acevedo (2007) can be measured by the ratio of social interaction with e.g. friends and which is extremely valuable for human development: the so called network capital. One that has done substantial work on the subject and who is well cited in the literature is John Urry, and he describes network capital like this: “Network capital is the capacity to engender and sustain social relations with those people who are not necessarily proximate and which generates emotional, financial and practical benefit […] Those social groups high in network capital enjoy significant advantages in making and remaking their social connections, the emotional, financial and practical benefit being over and above and non-reducible to the benefits derived from what Bourdieu terms economic and cultural capital […].” (Urry, 2007, p. 197).
For this paper, it is easy to see how our respondents navigate through the networked society and how they, as people with high network capital, make the most of the ICTs that is out there to both nurture and expand their social relationships. Looking at the aspect of ICTs, it is clear that there are a multitude of media forms, but that does not mean that an individual have access to, or even know how to use them. Therefore, the next chapter will go deeper into the concept known as polymedia. The aim here is not only to explain what polymedia is, but also to discuss the two primary problems the concept faces, present previous studies on the matter as well as draw an outline for how this relates to this study.
The concept of polymedia was presented by Madianou and Miller, due to the fact that we in recent years have witnessed a rapid technological development that have had serious impact on our communication patterns. The ‘poly’ of the concept is derived from the Greek language and mean ‘many’ or ‘several’. The word indicates both the many forms that media do take, as well as the various ways we use it (Herbig, Herrmann & Tyma in Aneesh, Hall & Petro, 2015) and Madianou and Miller (2012) lists three things that are the essential preconditions for polymedia: access and availability, affordability and media literacy.
Access and availability means that the user do have access to at least half a dozen media communication methods, which today most of the people in the North do, and they state that it is a rapid growing global phenomenon, even though it seems to be growing a lot faster in some regions and contexts (Madianou & Miller, 2012). The fact that polymedia is not being equally apportioned seems to be of little importance, and the concept “is successively becoming the socially normalized condition” (Jansson, 2015, p.48) and in most cases, access and cost is no longer the issue it once was, therefore we nowadays use multiple platforms to sustain our relationships and social interactions. Whether its social media or an old trusted telephone land line, we use the media that is most beneficial for each particular relationship, meaning that our communication pattern differ between our friends and our family members (Madianou & Miller, 2012).
New forms of media is constantly emerging and the search for the next type of communication is well under way. This opens up for new ways to link up, which according to Gershon (2010) and Baym (2015) not only strengthens, but also make our relationships more diverse. Polymediation can also be seen as a concept which happens transcendently in the world and “[…] starts where convergence stops” Herbig, Herrmann and Tyma (2015, p. xix). Throughout history media have had many forms and if the Gutenberg printing press, TV and Internet revolutionised communication once, the concept of polymedia will be the next big step, bridging mobility and connectivity. Polymedia transform traditional media from mere means of transmission to an expression of and window to our relations with others (Madianou & Miller, 2012).
The digital divide: First and second level
In this section the issue of access, as presented by Madianou & Miller (2012), to some forms of communication media will be discussed, since it might have affect the respondents answers. This might not be too big of a problem when communicating North – North, but communication for those respondents who do live in the South, the digital divide could be a problem when trying to keep in touch nationally. This due to the fact that plenty of people in the South lack access to even a basic telephone line (Norris, 2001). The differentiation between what is considered North contra South (industrialised as well as the developing world) needs to be established as well.
In 1980 Willy Brandt published a report called North-South: A programme for survival that presented a post-colonized world map of developed and developing regions, the latter primarily placed in the Southern Hemisphere. This report presented a graphic map with a thick line dividing the world into what have been known as the North-South divide (see Illustration 26 below), and it is this definition that will be used in this study when discussing North and South, since it is the basis for the term. However, a lot have happened since, and this map has been somewhat altered, particularly concerning the so called BRIC countries (Armijo, 2007).
Table of contents :
1.1 Framing the research topic
1.3 Purpose of the study
2. Theoretical framework
2.1 Mobility and migration
2.1.1 International voluntary migration and labour migration
2.1.2 Elite migrants
2.1.3 The network society and network capital
2.2.1 The digital divide: First and second level
2.2.2 Previous research: Polymedia communication
2.3.1 Transnationalism or cosmopolitanism?
2.4 Concluding remarks: Framing connectivity
3. Study design
3.1 Purpose revisited
3.1.1 Research questions
3.1.2 Operationalisation and definitions
3.2.1 Regression analysis
3.2.2 Utlands-SOM 2014: The survey, data and variables
3.2.3 The problem of multiple media functions
3.3 Research credibility
4. Results & analysis
4.1 Favoured media
4.1.1 Telephone and text message
4.1.2 Video call
4.1.3 Internet-based services
4.2 Regression output
4.2.2 Video call
4.2.7 Other social media
4.3 Demographic factors
4.3.4 Summarising the research question
4.4 Mobility factors
4.4.1 Travel patterns
4.4.2 Years spent abroad
4.4.3 Number of countries lived in
4.4.4 Summarising the research question and adding demographic variables
4.5 The cosmopolitan factor
4.5.2 Video call
4.5.3 Text message
4.5.7 Other social media
4.5.8 Summarising the research question
5.1 Further research
5.2 Implications for society and careers
6. List of references
7. Codebook- SOM-constructed variables