Migration to new destinations: Local migrant experiences in a globalised world

  • Aisling Murphy

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis examines modern migration processes to new destinations. Using case studies in Northern Ireland, it analyses the challenges and complexities of integration as a way of framing migrants' settlement in new societies. Despite the scale and pace of global migration patterns and an expanding research literature, current theoretical approaches and conceptual ideas do not adequately capture the problematic, complex and multifaceted nature of contemporary migration. This study advances and deepens our understanding of migration to new destinations by developing and applying a theoretical framework based on structuration theory. Employing qualitative and quantitative methods the research examines the interplay between migrants' experiences (agency) and the functioning of state and civil society (structures) in facilitating integration processes. Specific themes including employment and housing are used to investigate integration mechanisms. The study evaluates efforts by state bodies and civil society organisations to accommodate migrants, including an examination of local community perspectives. The empirical research shows how integration is a concept with no shared meaning. This is evidenced through state and civil society responses that place limits on migrants to apply their capabilities and fulfil their aspirations. Social reality does not match policy rhetoric of integration as a mutual two-way process between migrants and society. New destinations emphasise the significance of context for migration processes. In Northern Ireland there are additional challenges for integration against the socio-political backdrop of segregation and sectarianism. The conceptual framework developed in this study examines complex structure-agency dynamics that in many ways challenge the theory and practice of integration.
    Date of AwardJul 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Queen's University Belfast
    SupervisorRuth McAreavey (Supervisor), Jenny Muir (Supervisor) & Brendan Murtagh (Supervisor)

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