The 'career' of the migrant: Time, space and the settling process

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Abstract

The field of migration studies - in Australia and overseas - has always included not only the question as to why people move, but a consideration of how migrants settle into or are incorporated into the new homeland. Yet while attention has been given to socioeconomic factors in settlement - centring around issues of housing, employment, welfare and education, for example, and focused on analysis of quantitative data with an eye to structural processes, policy approaches and service delivery - little consideration is given to questions of civil society, community involvement and interpersonal relations in specific localities over time (Galligan et al. 2014: 91-3). This chapter centres on the question, 'how do migrants settle?' This is broadly significant in a world shaped by the increasing movements of people, but it is especially important in a country such as Australia that has depended both on migration for nation-building and on mutliculturalism as social policy for addressing the consequences of cultural diversity. A broad, top-down approach to this question, however, can only ever give general and abstract answers, and not capture the experience and complexities of settling. There is, therefore, a need to rethink approaches to this issue. Drawing on a single case study from a research project examining the settling experiences of Lebanese migrants to Australia, this chapter argues that settling is not an event but a trajectory whose temporal and spatial dimensions need to be explored. Further, it sees settlement not as something 'done to people', but a complex and changing process in which people are social actors in making themselves at home (Galligan et al. 2014: 91). Taking its cue from a number of emerging themes in the international and Australian research, but focusing on the often neglected area of settlement, the chapter borrows from the work of Goffman to frame this trajectory as a kind of 'career' which unfolds over time and across diverse contexts.

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APA

Noble, G., & Tabar, P. (2017). The “career” of the migrant: Time, space and the settling process. In Critical Reflections on Migration, “Race” and Multiculturalism: Australia in a Global Context (pp. 255–270). Taylor and Francis Inc. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315645124

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