Saturday, 23 July 2011

Exceptional People

The book tip of the weekend. Good contribution for the ones on migration studies and its relations to other fields, such as conflict transformation.

Discussions on migrations both nationally and globally are characterised by “intense heat but very little light”. This is not an overstatement in the UK, where the immigration cap recently pledged by the Prime Minister David Cameron caused a row in much of the country including in his own coalition. In continental Europe, the massive arrival of North Africans further to the Arab Spring could soon result in a revision of the Charter which governs the free movement of persons in the Schengen area.

The overall picture is convincing. From the first page on, the depth of the research, the quality of the analysis and the general cool-headedness of the approach strike the reader. The book opens up with a history of migration, from the dawn of man to the present day, which reminds us that our collective migration journey started some 31,000 years ago in East Africa. Great civilisations (the Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the British Empire to name a few) and great cities such as Venice, Amsterdam, Florence or London flourished thanks to migrations. In historical terms, the current situation is a paradox: in a world which tirelessly organises the exchange of containers, financial transactions and information, people’s movements have never been so restricted.

Read full review HERE.

Exceptional People: How migration shaped our world and will define our future. Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron and Meera Balarajan. Princeton University Press. April 2011.

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