Migration, development, and border control

A review of the German literature

Authored by: Heike Drotbohm , Franziska Reiffen

Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138244450
eBook ISBN: 9781315276908
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter summarises German-speaking scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds. It traces how the perception of migration in the context of the development agenda has shifted from a derogatory to a valorising and again to a critical one since the 1990s. While the discursive connection of migration and development has changed in the course of time, many authors agree on the unprecedented intensity and the hype that surrounded the migration–development nexus in the past 15 years. After summarising the positions of several key authors, the chapter clarifies specificities of the German context, before examining how different types of actors and organisations perceived migrants as new actors of development, and how this affected the migrants. This overview ends with the competing policy agendas in the context of contemporary migration management, which often result in a tightening of border control and in a securitisation of migration. In this context, issues of migration and development have been substituted by questions of displacement, asylum, and the externalisation of European borders. Today, social practices of supporting newcomers coexist with an increasingly restrictive asylum politics and an upheaval of right-wing and nationalist political movements.

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