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Skilled migration to globalising China: An ethnographic study on migrants'

Contact person: Brigitte Suter
Responsible: Brigitte Suter
Partner: Fudan University, Shanghai
Funding: COFAS 2, Forte Outgoing International Postdoc Fellowship
Timeframe: 2014-09-25 -- 2017-09-01
Research profile: Migrationsprofilen
Research programme: Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare
Faculty/Department: Faculty of Culture and Society, Global Political Studies
Subject: Tvärvetenskap

Project time frame June 2015- September 2017

Summary 

In her Marie Curie-COFAS post doc study “Skilled European Migration to Globalising China” Brigitte Suter studies the reasons for and motivations of skilled Swedish and Swiss nationals’ migration to Shanghai. While the study seeks to shed light on how processes of global economic integration propel skilled Europeans (including European families) to move to China, the focus of the project lies on how this move is experienced and narrated by the persons in question.
The traditional migration literature tends to focus on the migration of low-skilled individuals moving from developing to developed countries – much because such migration is often perceived to be problematic in the national political discourse. The body of literature on skilled migration remains thin, however, and seldom presents an in-depth understanding of both the heterogeneity of migrants in question and their motivation to engage in mobility. Thus, the skilled migrant of the migration and business-related academic literature often is portrayed as a faceless, uniform worker whose skills seem to eradicate all other personal traits, assets and attachment to social and cultural dimensions.
This project seeks to contribute to the study of migrant professionals in several ways: Firstly, it considers relevant economic, political and social developments in the home and host countries that lead to this type of migration. By studying the migration of skilled migrants from developed countries to an emerging market, this project will add a perspective seldom explored in migration studies. Secondly, the project looks at Shanghai not only as a Global City in which a highly specialised service sector juxtaposes a large low-skilled service sector but also as a city where social and spatial inequalities prevail. The project seeks to analyse the socio-economic position of skilled Swiss and Swedish migrants, their efforts and challenges of incorporation into the city as well as impacts on their identities. Thirdly, the project focuses on the migrants itself, and pays attention to specific arrangements of their new life. Through narratives with Swedish and Swiss nationals from a variety of backgrounds, the project offers an original window into the negotiations and contestations of norms and practices in contemporary Swedish and Swiss societies.
Senast uppdaterad av Johanna Svensson