On Migration: Personal Networks and Migration Trajectories

Miranda Jessica Lubbers *, José Luis Molina

*Corresponding author for this work

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Research has long explored the role that networks play in migration and post-migratory adaptation, and a large part of this scholarship uses a personal network approach. This chapter aims to review this literature and critically reflect on its advances and remaining challenges. We first introduce a few key concepts and preliminary methodological considerations for conducting personal network studies in the field of migration. Then, we discuss the empirical evidence in this field. We divide this literature in three broad sections, following its major trends over time: migration flows as network diffusion processes, network effects on individual decision-making and adaptation, and the influence of migration on personal network dynamics. Finally, we argue that research into networks and migration would benefit from a greater sensitivity to temporality, context and the internal heterogeneity of the migrant category, and a firmer knowledge base about personal network dynamics in the general population.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersonal Networks: Classic Readings and New Directions in Egocentric Analysis
EditorsMario Luis Small, Brea Perry, Bernice Pescosolido, Edward (Ned) Smith
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-108-87829-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Publication series

NameStructural Analysis In The Social Sciences
PublisherCambridge University Press


  • Social networks
  • Migrant networks
  • International migration
  • Transnational migration
  • Segmented assimilation
  • Mixed embeddedness
  • Polish migrants
  • Integration
  • Support
  • Ties


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