Cities and Migration: an Overview


  • Catherine Withol De Wenden Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique image/svg+xml



cities, migrations, multi-level approach, hospitality, hostility


Cities and migration is a topic which cannot be studied by one discipline, and which is enriched by a multi-level approach. It crosses, inside the area of migration studies, urban studies (geography, political science, and sociology), migration flows and stocks (mobility, settlement, and integration for demographers), public law and international relations (governance, international agreements, and cooperation). It is also relating to new actors, sometimes non-State actors, along with public policies. Sociology, political science, anthropology, geography, philosophy, history are questioned by a problematics which often opposes hospitality in towns and hostility from the migration State in an international landscape of crisis and emergency. The contradictions between the various levels in the decision-making process (local, municipal, regional, national, international) are many, although this topic gained visibility with the recent hospitality and solidarity developed by cities, sometimes transgressing national laws and policies facing with security, dissuasive and repressive approaches of Nation States. As migrants are more and more coming from urban areas to other urban areas in the South, as well in the North, cities are central actors in a multi-level approach of decision-making processes of flows and of living together. Cities are also the main space of Integration, highlighting discriminations, institutional racism, and other forms of exclusion but also emergence of close solidarities and creativity. The growing visibility of migrants in daily life is also questioning various forms of cohabitation.


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