This article throws light upon the top three theories of migration. The theories are: 1. Everett Lee’s Theory of Migration 2. Duncan’s Theory 3. Standing’s Theory of Materialism.
1. Everett Lee’s Theory of Migration:
Everett Lee in his A Theory of Migration divides the factors that determine the decision to migrate and the process of migration into four categories:
1. Factors associated with the Area of Origin:
There are many factors which motivate people to leave their place of origin to outside area. They are push factors.
2. Factors associated with the Area of Destination:
There are very attractive forces at the area of destination to which the proportion of “selectivity” migrants is high. According to Lee, such forces are found in metropolitan areas of a country. Pull factors are present in such areas.
3. Intervening Obstacles:
There are intervening obstacles like distance and transportation which increase migrant selectivity of the area of destination. These obstacles have been lessened in modern times with technological advances. Lee also refers to cost of movements, ethnic barriers and personal factors as intervening obstacles.
4. Personal Factors:
Lastly, it is the personal factors on which the decision to migrate from the place of origin to the place of destination depends. In fact, it is an individual’s perception of the ‘pull and push forces’ which influence actual migration. He categorises these forces into “pluses” and “minuses” respectively. In other words, pluses are pull factors and minuses are push factors. In between them are “zeros” which balance the competing forces.
These are explained in Fig. 1, where the first circle represents the area of origin and the second circle the area of destination. The sign pluses represents the forces that attract people to a place (pull factors) and that of minuses represents the forces that push people from the area. Zeros represent the indifference of the people towards migration. In between these forces are the intervening obstacles.
According to Lee, it is the personal factors such as age, sex, race and education which alongwith the pull-push factors and intervening obstacles that determine migration. Further, there are sequential migrants such as children and wives of migrants who have little role in the decision to migrate.
Lee has formulated three hypotheses within the conceptual framework of the above noted four factors.
1. Characteristics of Migrants:
The following are the characteristics of migrants:
(1) Migration is selective.
(2) Migrants who respond primarily to plus factors at destination tend to be positively selective.
(3) Migrants who respond primarily to minus factors at origin tend to be negatively selective, or where they are overwhelming for the entire group, they may not be selective at all for migration.
(4) When all migrants are considered together selection for migration tends to be bimodel.
(5) The degree of positive selection increases with the difficulties of intervening obstacles.
(6) The characteristics of migrants tend to be intermediate between the characteristics of the population of the place of origin and those of place of destination.
(7) The higher propensity to migrate at certain stages of the life-cycle is important in the selection of migrants.
2. Volume of Migration:
The volume of migration is determined by the following factors:
(1) The volume of migration within a territory changes with the degree of areas included in it.
(2) It varies with the diversity of the people.
(3) It is related to the difficulty of evercoming the intervening variables.
(4) It varies with fluctuations in the economy.
(5) It varies with the state of progress in a country or area.
(6) Unless severe checks are imposed, both the volume and rate of migration tend to increase with time.
3. Streams and Counter-streams of Migration:
The following factors determine streams and counter-streams of migration:
(1) Migration tends to take place largely within well-defined streams.
(2) For every major migration stream, a counter-stream also develops.
(3) The efficiency of the stream and the counter- stream tends to be low if the place of origin and the place of destination are similar.
(4) The efficiency of the stream will be high if the major factors in the development of a migration stream are minus factors at origin.
(5) The efficiency of the stream will also be high if the intervening obstacles are great.
(6) The efficiency of a migration stream changes with economic conditions of the country, being high during prosperity and low during depression.
Lee concludes that migration is always selective and influenced by pull- push factors. Areas having plus factors are first selected for migration. It is generally the pull factors which lead to migration to urban areas rather than push factors, even though intervening obstacles do influence migration.
2. Duncan’s Theory:
O.D. Duncan, in his book, The Theory and Consequences of Mobility of Farm Population, has presented a theory regarding the mobility of population engaged in agriculture. His theory is the combination of microscopic and macroscopic active forces in the process of migration.
According to Duncan, whatever effects are created by changes in structural factors of the country, the same effects are caused by migration. Thus, for achieving many structural aims, migration is the functional alternative to social change.
Generally, the following factors are responsible for migration:
1. Economic and Technical Causes:
They relate to the changes occurring in the technique of production, in methods and structure of agricultural operations, in market structure, in price situation, in specialisation, in production, and in relative changes in the wage level, etc.
2. Social Causes:
The social causes are development of institutional structure, policies regarding public land and production, development of transport and communication systems, population growth, increase in knowledge and its expansion, class-conflicts and competition, disarrangement coming in social degradation and structure of administration, changing needs of maintenance of family, etc.
3. Personal Causes:
In personal causes are included unsatisfied needs, increase in the intelligence of persons and expanding horizon of knowledge, health, emotions of alieanation, views regarding neighbours, imagination power, nature, emotions, etc.
4. Natural Causes:
The natural causes pertain to environment and atmosphere, frequent existence of diseases, floods, earthquake, droughts, malaria, hookwarm, seasonal changes, land erosion, etc.
5. Other Causes:
There are some miscellaneous causes which affect migration. They are labour problems, strikes, riots, increase in real wealth, search of new means or ending up of the supply of old resources, etc.
Out of the above mentioned causes two or more causes probably influence migration.
3. Standing’s Theory of Materialism:
In understanding the theories of the process of migration, the theory of materialism is a new one. Standing Guy in his book Migration and Modes of Exploitation: Social Origin of Immobility and Mobility, presented this theory in 1981.
According to this theory, the size and level of migration are determined by the relation of production of society, nature of wealth, land ownership system and factors controlling the growth of forces of production in a society.
He drew attention towards migration occurring during the transition period between the end of the feudalistic production and beginning of the capitalistic production. In ancient times, whatever migration took place was in a particular group, while migration in the modern capitalistic system is largely of personal type.
In the feudalistic system there was no major migration because the cultivators were under the control of feudal lords. During this period, there was no special development of the cities and the rural push migration did not occur.
Whatever industrial development has taken place in the capitalistic system, that has been possible due to migration. Migration causes an end to the class relations of old types and gives birth to a new type of class structure, the capitalist labour class.
Due to migration there comes into existence an industrial reserve army which keeps the wage rate to remain low in the short period. The possibility of exchanging the supply of labourers in new trades and new areas has increased which is responsible for the origin of a disciplined labour class.
In the long run, surplus population which originates during the process of capital formation makes labourers more progressive, increases their work efficiency and motivates them to work for longer hours.
Thus, Standing has explained the process of migration with reference to different economic systems and modes of production and how the nature and streams of migration take place in the light of Karl Marx’s Theory.