Call for publication : Migration & Development. Political Implications

Calendar :

Deadline to send abstracts: September 15, 2022
Decision: September 30, 2022
Deadline to send articles in their first version: March 1st, 2023
Deadline to send articles in their final version: September 30, 2023
Publication: March 2024

Submission Modalities :

The coordinators of the dossier are looking for proposals based on original empirical data, whether qualitative or quantitative. They will be particularly attentive to proposals dealing with Latin American and Asian diasporas and contexts.

Expected proposals should be 1,000 words or 7,000 characters (spaces included) long and should clearly present the method, the data and the empirical and theoretical contribution of the article to the special issue.

Proposals can be sent in French, English, Spanish or Italian.

Proposals should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before September 15, 2022.

Selected articles will have to be written be in French, English or Spanish and accompanied by three abstracts in each of these languages.

Texts need to conform to house style (

Selection Committee/Coordination :

Giulia Breda (Ph.D. degree in sociology, lecturer in political science at Côte d’Azur University)

Claire Vincent-Mory (Sociologist, post-doctoral fellow at LIEPP/Sciences Po)

Hélène Thiollet (Political Scientist, Research Fellow, CNRS-CERI-Sciences Po, member of the Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales)


This special issue takes a stand for critical studies (Burawoy, 2005; De Munck, 2011) of the contemporary practices and discourses of the migration development nexus, in a context of institutional depoliticisation and silencing of power relations. Building on the careful examination of the political issues raised by the actors through their narratives and their social practices, in the migration and development field, this dossier aims at exploring more particularly, on the one hand, the possibilities of expression of divergent interests, knowledge or discourses by subaltern actors in the field of development cooperation, and on the other hand, the ideological anchorings, through the examination of their building or re-appropriation processes, but also their effects. By bringing to light recent research, this publication also intends to contribute to highlighting and promoting critical studies of the contemporary political and activist struggles of the migration and development field.

Migration and Development : A Mainstream Issue

Shaped by the struggles for recognition of community organization activists with migrant backgrounds, the mobilization of researchers and civil servants, but also by the work of civil society experts, the interrelationship between migration and development has long remained a secondary, if ever marginal political and institutional topic. Since the beginning of the 2000s, it has grown to become a mainstream issue. At all levels of public action, political and institutional actors have seized upon it and put it on the agenda.

In the field of national public policies, a growing number of states on all continents are developing initiatives connecting migration and development issues. The so-called “receiving countries” are building programmes at the intersection of domestic and foreign policy issues (Lacroix, 2010 and 2019; Østergaard-Nielsen and Ciornei, 2017; Vincent-Mory, 2018; Iskander, 2010). On the other hand, the so-called “sending countries” are increasingly developing policies to assist their nationals abroad, combining political recognition with incentives for economic investment (Dufoix et al., 2010; Jaulin and Smith, 2015; Vincent-Mory, 2021).

At the regional and international levels, interest in the subject has become visible through the creation since the mid-2000s of new actors and new arenas (KNOMAD, GMG, GFMD, etc.), but also through the abundant production of reports and policy briefs on the migration-development nexus by recent or more traditional development actors (development agencies, World Bank, OECD, UNDP, IOM). In the case of the European Union, the migration/development relationship has been progressively put on the agenda through negotiations on the management of migratory flows and security issues, since the 1999 Tampere summit, when the term “co-development” was introduced by the French delegation.

The internationalisation and institutionalisation of the subject are accompanied by scientific interest. However, not all social practices linking migration and development receive the same attention. In the academic field, the economical approach dominates today. The interrelationship between migration and development tends to be reduced to the practice and issues of transfers, whether economic, social or cultural (Levitt, 1998; Gubert et al., 2010). These works support the statistical representation (Bréant, 2013) of diaspora remittances to the territories of origin, which are now the new “mantra” of development (Kapur, 2004).

As a result of these intersecting processes, the subject of the interconnection between migration and development is no longer a marginal activist concern, but rather an ordinary theme of multilevel public action.

Depoliticisation, Dilution, Instrumentalization

A commonplace institutional object, the theme is now characterised by its depoliticised and instrumental treatment. This is evident in the institutional field in the discourses that are expressed, the standardisation of practices and the domination of technical expertise (Pécoud, 2015). Moreover, the depoliticisation of the understanding of the link between migration and development is part of a broader movement to depoliticise development issues (Mosse, 2011). Literature on international organisations has reminded us that while the depoliticisation of discourses is, in essence, intrinsic to the intergovernmental nature and mandates of these organisations, it is nevertheless part of their political strategy (Petiteville, 2017).

The literature has attested how international organisations such as the World Bank and the IOM play a crucial role, not only in articulating, disseminating and training on the standards, rules and perimeters of good migration — i.e. legal, safe and organized — but also of the good relationship between migration and development — i.e. beneficial and fruitful for all three stakeholders: migrant, sending country, receiving country (Geiger and Pécoud, 2010 and 2012; Pécoud, 2014). At all levels, a selection of “good practices” and technical recommendations are promoted, claiming to be free of controversy or political debates relating to migration flows. These mechanisms divert attention from power relations (Breda and Mangane, 2018; Vincent-Mory, 2018). Moreover, the discourses of actors, including those at the margins, integrate the dominant ideological elements disseminated in the development cooperation space, and act as an additional ideological validation of the action of actors who control the field (Breda, 2019).

  • 1 Human development report (2009) Overcoming barriers: human mobility and development, PNUD.

Thus institutionalized and characterized by a depoliticized treatment, the migration development nexus is today diluted in the global development agenda. Linked to the dominant paradigms, it is carried by a consensual discourse in multi-actor arenas. Since the 2009 Human Development Report1, the theme has been inserted and attached in a piecemeal fashion to the more traditional development themes of health, employment, the economy, or justice (Caplan, 2020). Since the Agenda 2030, the migration/development relationship has been considered in the light of the new paradigmatic framework of inclusion and the whole of society approach: to maximize the effectiveness of the migration development nexus, diasporas are one of the societal components to be involved.

Finally, the depoliticisation of the migration development nexus approach is accompanied by its instrumental treatment by development institutions. Seized as a natural phenomenon, according to a generally optimistic apprehension (de Haas, 2010), migration would be considered, according to a causal and consequentialist approach, from its potential for the parties concerned by transnational mobilities: so-called “sending” countries, so-called “receiving” countries and individuals in migration (Bakewell, 2008; Bayart, 2007; Daum, 2007; Pastore, 2007). This instrumental perspective is accompanied by a dichotomous categorisation of motives. The labelling contrasts the highly capitalised globalised diasporic elites, which are highly valued from the perspective of maximising the migration development nexus, with the nebulous group of precarious mobile, illegal, refugee and low-skilled individuals (Faist, 2008 and 2009; Meyer, 2009). This view also aims to oppose the negative imaginary of the irregular and “free rider” migrant with the positive figure of the migrant vector of development.

For a Political Analysis of a Depoliticised Issue

The institutional invisibility of the political issues at stake in the field of the relationship between migration and development invites us today to put theoretical and empirical work exploring the political dynamics at work in the field of migration and development back at the centre of the scholarly debate.

Naturally, such work does exist today, as proved by, for example, recent research on activist trajectories, local political arenas, or on the political stakes of transfers (Soukouna, 2019; Schmoll, 2020; Leclerc-Olive, 2006; Lacroix et al., 2016). Similarly, while the subject of co-development seems to have generally receded from the academic and activist agenda, some arenas still show interest, like in Italy (Ambrosini and Berti, 2009; Stocchiero and Padoan, 2018; Mezzetti and Ceschi, 2019). However, critical approaches concerned with deconstructing institutional approaches in order to better highlight power relations, the transformations of political arenas and militant struggles, seem to have lost ground today.

Stating the institutional depoliticisation of the migration/development treatment does not exhaust the analysis. On the contrary, from an academic point of view, this calls on to question the processes, practices and representations whose political stakes and effects seem to be invisible. Among the questions deserving to be placed at the centre of the academic (and no doubt activist) debate, this issue wishes to address the following:
- Power relationships: What power relationships are revealed by the circulation of discourses, social practices and tools of the migration development nexus, across the diverse levels and categories of actors involved?
- Causes: What alternative, competing or counter discourses exist today, in the face of the mainstream approach of the migration development nexus? Which mobilisations, actor alliances or conflicts about the definition and the ownership of the cause for migration and development can be identified today?
- Activism: Is the institutionalisation of M&D the end of activism in the field of migration and development? This interrogation involves questioning the intersections between the mobilisation areas and times: are there continuities between yesterday and today’s militant fights, particularly in terms of anti-racist struggles, fights for citizenship, rights, or political recognition of minority groups?
- Political Representation: What connections are there between the struggles for political recognition of diasporas and the forms of engagement in transnational development initiatives? Which articulations today between access to political representation and political participation (both “here” and “there”) and access to representation and participation in migration and development governance arenas?


Ambrosini Maurizio e Berti Fabio (2009) Persone e migrazioni. Integrazione locale e sentieri di co-sviluppo, Milano, Edizioni Franco Angeli.

Bakewell Oliver (2008) “Keeping them in their place”: the ambivalent relationship between development and migration in Africa, Third world quarterly, 29 (7), pp. 1341-1358.
DOI : 10.1080/01436590802386492

Bayart Jean-François (2007) En finir avec le codéveloppement, Alternatives économiques, 257 (4), pp. 26-26.
DOI : 10.3917/ae.257.0026

Bréant Hugo (2013) Migrations et flux monétaires : quand ceux qui restent financent celui qui part, Autrepart, 67-68, pp. 31-52.
DOI : 10.3917/autr.067.0031

Breda Giulia (2019) (Co) Développement et gestion internationale des migrations : contrôler le savoir pour savoir contrôler, Thèse de doctorat en sociologie, Université Cote d’Azur.

Breda Giulia and Mangane Abdourahmane (2018) Different Investment Strategies Versus a Unique Co-development Discourse: A Case Study of Tunisian and Senegalese Migrants, in Marco Caselli and Guia Gilardoni Eds., Globalization, Supranational Dynamics and Local Experiences, London, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 251-268.

Burawoy Michael (2005) The Critical Turn to Public Sociology, Critical Sociology, 31 (3), pp. 313-326.
DOI : 10.1163/1569163053946291

Caplan Caroline (2020) Shifts in migration and development studies: A perspective from France, in Tanja Bastia and Ronald Skeldon Eds., Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development, London, Routledge, pp. 503-514.

Daum Christophe (2007) Le codéveloppement, grandeur et décadence d’une aspiration généreuse, Revue internationale et stratégique, 68 (4), pp. 49-59.

De Munck Jean (2011) Les trois dimensions de la sociologie critique, SociologieS, [en ligne], consulté le 10/06/2022. URL :

Dufoix Stéphane, Guerassimoff Carine et Tinguy Anne (de) (2010) Loin des yeux, près du coeur : les États et leurs expatriés, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po.

Faist Thomas (2009) Transnationalization and development: Toward an alternative agenda, Social Analysis, 53 (3), pp. 38-59.

Faist Thomas (2008) Migrants as transnational development agents: an inquiry into the newest round of the migration-development nexus, Population, space and place, 14 (1), pp. 21-42.

Geiger Martin and Pécoud Antoine (2012) The new politics of international mobility: Migration management and its discontents, Osnabrück, Institut für Migrationsforschung und Interkulturelle Studien (IMIS), Universität Osnabrück.

Geiger Martin and Pécoud Antoine (2010) The politics of international migration management, Berlin, Springer.
DOI : 10.1057/9780230294882

Gubert Flore, Lassourd Thomas et Mesplé-Somps Sandrine (2010) Transferts de fonds des migrants, pauvreté et inégalités au Mali, Revue économique, 61 (6), pp. 1023-1050.

Haas Hein (de) (2010) Migration and Development. A Theoretical Perspective, International Migration Review, 44 (1), pp. 227-264.

Iskander Natasha (2010) Creative state, Ithaca, Cornell University Press.
DOI : 10.7591/9780801462245

Jaulin Thibaut et Smith Étienne (2015) Les diasporas africaines aux urnes, Afrique contemporaine, 256, pp. 11-116.

Kapur Devesh (2004) Remittances: the new development mantra?, G-24 discussion paper, series, 29.

Lacroix Thomas (2019) Le développement : frein ou facteur des migrations ?, Questions internationales, 97, pp. 55-61.

Lacroix Thomas (2010) Politiques de codéveloppement et le champ associatif immigré africain : un panorama européen, African Yearbook of International Law/Annuaire Africain de droit international, pp. 79-98.

Lacroix Thomas, Levitt Peggy and Vari-Lavoisier Ilka (2016) Social remittances and the changing transnational political landscape, Comparative Migration Studies, 4 (1), pp. 1-5.

Leclerc-Olive Michèle (2006) Affaires locales. De l’espace social communautaire à l’espace public, Paris, Karthala.

Levitt Peggy (1998) Social remittances: Migration driven local-level forms of cultural diffusion, International migration review, 32 (4), pp. 926-948.

Meyer Jean-Baptiste (2009) La percolation mondiale des compétences, in Christophe Jaffrelot et Chrstian Lesquesne Éds., L’enjeu mondial. Les migrations, Paris, Presses de Sciences Po, pp. 245-252.
DOI : 10.3917/scpo.jaffr.2009.01.0245

Mezzetti Petra e Ceschi Sebastiano (2019) Ripartire dall’Africa. Esperienze e iniziative di migrazione e di co-sviluppo, Roma, Donzelli Editore.

Mosse David (2011) Adventures in Aidland: The anthropology of professionals in international development, New York, Berghahn Books.

Østergaard-Nielse Eva and Ciornei Ciornei Irina (2017) Making the Absent Present: Political Parties and Emigrant Issues in Country of Origin Parliaments, Party Politics, 25 (2), pp. 153-166.

Pastore Ferruccio (2007) Europe, Migration and Development: Critical remarks on an emerging policy field, Development, 50 (4), pp. 56-62.

Pécoud Antoine (2015) Depoliticising Migration, Depoliticising Migration: Global Governance and International Migration Narratives, London, Springer.
DOI : 10.1057/9781137445933

Pécoud Antoine (2014) Les transferts de fonds vus par les organisations internationales : construction d’un enjeu et élaboration d’un agenda politique international, Autrepart, 67-68 (4), pp. 13-30.
DOI : 10.3917/autr.067.0013

Petiteville Franck (2017) La politisation résiliente des organisations internationales, Critique internationale, 76 (3), pp. 9-19.

Schmoll Camille (2020) Les damnées de la mer. Femmes et frontières en Méditerranée, Paris, La Découverte.
DOI : 10.3917/dec.schmo.2020.01

Soukouna Sadio (2019) Migrants maliens et paradiplomatie : entre politisation et marginalisation, Monde commun, 2, pp. 72-85.
DOI : 10.3917/moco.003.0072

Stocchiero Andrea e Padoan Veronica (2018) Un nuovo patto delle diaspore per lo sviluppo sostenibile, Cespi, [online]. URL:

Vincent-Mory Claire (2021) Inclure les diasporas ? Le cadrage de la représentation des acteurs migrants de la coopération au développement, en France et en Italie, Les études de la Chaire Diasporas Africaines, 5, pp. 1-48.

Vincent-Mory Claire (2018) Le petit monde du développement porté par les migrants : une sociologie de la reconnaissance des « associations de migrants » dans les arènes françaises de la coopération au développement (1981-2014), Thèse de doctorat en sociologie, Université Paris X-Nanterre.
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1 Human development report (2009) Overcoming barriers: human mobility and development, PNUD.

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