The Ties that Bind (or Not): Social Networks Among Extra-Continental Migrants

By Heather Kunin, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. Social networks have long been recognized as playing a pivotal role within migration, with multiple studies examining, among other phenomena, the role of social networks in predicting the decision to migrate and choice of destination, as well as in impacting migrants’ chances for integration. Social network analysis (SNA) is a methodology for visualizing and interrogating relationships among actors and is highly applicable to a field where social networks are considered “one of the fundamentals of the migration process.” Until recently, this discipline has been woefully underutilized within migration studies, although this is beginning to change.

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Retaining, Changing, and Surrendering Hegemonic Masculinities

By Subin Mulmi, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. Transatlantic migration from South Asia is a long, arduous, and expensive journey but each year many South Asians risk their lives to reach the supposed dreamland of the United States. A large majority of the South Asians that I met during our re-search in 2018 in Costa Rica were men, prompting a focus on how men experienced long-distance migration.

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How to Achieve the American Dream on an Immigrant’s Income

By Jeffrey Ashe, Kim Wilson.
The American Dream—being able to earn a good living, buy a home, send children to school, and build a life in the United States regardless of social stature or place of birth—is an aspiration for most who immigrate to the United States. While new immigrants may be fleeing violence, poverty, and persecution—so called “push factors”—they are also pulled by the prospects of a better life for themselves and their children. Some immigrants arrive in the United States wealthy, educated, and fluent in English. These case studies focus on immigrants who may arrive with a few dollars in their pocket, struggle with English, and sometimes are without legal documents. Our research examines how immigrant households save up in groups to transform income that is irregular, uncertain, and low into regular, predictable, and meaningful sums of cash.

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The Other Migration, Part 2: Journey Through the Darién Gap

Migrants and refugees who have fled to South America may attempt to travel up through Central America in search of safety and stability in the US or Canada. This journey involves crossing one of the world’s most dangerous jungles: The Darién Gap, along the border of Colombia and Panama. In part two of this three-part series, learn about this perilous leg of the migration journey.

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The Other Migration, Part 1: Who and Why

As countries across the globe crack down on immigration, migrants and refugees are forced to uncover new travel routes in search of safety and stability. The Other Migration examines the journey of migrants from Africa and Asia as they travel across the world to South America and up through Central America. Part one of this three-part series examines who is traveling on this migration route and why.

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Reflections on Conducting a Lean Research Field Study

By Sarah Carson, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Field research is a common and often powerful piece of post-graduate training in international affairs and development. But sending students to the field also comes with risks to both students and study participants. What happens when you send five students abroad to execute Lean Research on their own? What challenges might they encounter, and what innovative solutions could they develop? And what do they learn that could be applied to similar experiences in the future?

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Putting Pieces in Place

By Ella Duncan, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. New arrivals to America must navigate ongoing identification of what American norms are and make decisions about which norms to embrace, which to merge into previously held norms, and which to discard as a poor fit. Financial norms hold a special place of importance. Deciding how to manage finances in America is directly related to the ability to provide for the well-being of oneself, one’s family, and one’s community. In a series of interviews in the fall of 2019, three Burundian immigrants in southern Maine shared their creative approaches to managing American finances.

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