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Migration decision-making: a geographical imaginations approach

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Maddy ThompsonORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Within the past two decades, scholars of migration are beginning to understand the importance of incorporating cultural dimensions into research concerning migration decision-making practices. While it is recognised that economic, social and political factors are central in the formation of the desire to migrate, these factors alone are unable to explain the migratory decisions of many. However, although cultures of migration has emerged as the dominant approach for incorporating cultural facets of migration decision-making, I suggest this approach does not offer a holistic exploration into the impacts of ‘culture’ due to its reluctance to fully engage with the importance of place. This paper outlines a geographical imaginations approach that is able to account for the complexities of culture and place on migration decision-making, based on insights developed from interviews undertaken with Filipino nurses in the UK and in the Philippines. The approach is able to account for the impacts of culture and place on migration decision-making in four main, interlinking ways. It is sensitive to the influence of geographical scales, to ideas of culture and place, to understandings of both home and away, and is able to account for non-migration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thompson M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Area

Year: 2017

Volume: 49

Issue: 1

Pages: 77-84

Print publication date: 01/03/2017

Online publication date: 22/09/2016

Acceptance date: 25/05/2016

Date deposited: 11/01/2018

ISSN (print): 0004-0894

ISSN (electronic): 1475-4762

Publisher: Wiley


DOI: 10.1111/area.12292


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