Migrant Communities as an Object of Analysis: Central Concepts and Theories
The article deals with the concept of the migrant communities in the context of finding an appropriate theoretical and methodological model for studying the phenomenon of migration at the present stage. The heuristic potential of social capital theory and migration network theory in study of the functioning of migrant communities is emphasized. Social capital is seen as a relational owned by individuals and social communities, determined by structural and symbolic factors and influencing the functioning of migrant communities at the micro, meso and macro levels. The social capital perspective focuses on the opportunities offered by the community as a network of connections, relevant resources, and the constraints associated with group membership (including the measurement of so-called “enforced trust”) based on a community of ethnic origin or citizenship. Structural components of the social capital of migrant communities are social networks that enable migrants to cope with issues such as search for employment and adaptation in host societies. The symbolic component of the social capital of migrant communities from the perspective of social capital theory is trust, a sense of mutual commitment, willingness to help one another and common production of the shared meanings (including a sense of shared identity). Theoretical and methodological framework discussed here so far have been rarely applied to the study of communities of Ukrainian migrants abroad.
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