Nov 20, 2012

Women’s Migration Networks in Mexico and Beyond (review)

GeoMexico  November 17, 2012

As long ago as 1885, Ernst Georg Ravenstein, a German-English cartographer, proposed seven “laws of migration” that arose from his studies of migration in the U.K.

The original seven laws, as expressed by Ravenstein, were:

1) Most migrants only proceed a short distance, and toward centers of absorption.
2) As migrants move toward absorption centers, they leave “gaps” that are filled up by migrants from more remote districts, creating migration flows that reach to “the most remote corner of the kingdom.”
3) The process of dispersion is inverse to that of absorption.
4) Each main current of migration produces a compensating counter-current.
5) Migrants proceeding long distances generally go by preference to one of the great centers of commerce or industry.
6) The natives of towns are less migratory than those of the rural parts of the country.
7) Females are more migratory than males.

These laws, though certainly not accepted uncritically, have provided a basic framework for many later studies of migration. Surprisingly, despite the wording of law 7, there has been remarkably little focus on female migration in the literature, with far more attention being paid in most studies to the migration of men.

Recognizing this, anthropologist Tamar Wilson provides a detailed account of several important aspects of female migration in her Women’s Migration Networks in Mexico and Beyond (University of New Mexico Press, 2009).

Wilson’s book focuses on the experiences and thoughts of doña Consuelo [all names are pseudonyms], a woman she met while researching in Colonia Popular, a Mexicali squatter settlement, in 1988, and her daughters Anamaria and Irma.  Read more. 

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