Elusive Migration Systems. Lessons from Europe’s new migratory map

Daniel Göler


Europe is facing a new era of migration. During the last decades, the European migration system underwent several shifts due to different reasons. A basic observation is that general changes, on the political map for example, do not necessarily have the same consequences in European regions, even in seemingly similar contexts. The major changes started in 1990 accelerated with the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 and found its continuation by crisis-driven migration from south European countries into Western European labour markets after 2008. All of these "migration waves" have been topped by a massive inflow of refugees in 2015 creating new migratory map of Europe. Thus, important stages of contemporary and present European migration history are interpreted as indicators for a surplus in diversity, flexibility and spontaneity and will serve for formulating the hypothesis of Elusive Migration Systems as an analytical framework and a kind of hypothesis to study new features of migrants’ trajectories, which became more and more variable. Being grounded may be the wish of the majority of Europeans and, in effect, the global population, but being on the move, voluntarily or forced, is reality for a certain number of migrants inside and heading towards Europe.


migration, transnationalism, transregionalism, labour migration, Europe

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