Migrant Capitals: Proposing a Multi-Level Spatio-Temporal Analytical Framework

Erel, Umut and Ryan, Louise (2019). Migrant Capitals: Proposing a Multi-Level Spatio-Temporal Analytical Framework. Sociology, 53(2) pp. 246–263.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038518785298


This article explores how migrants utilize and access different forms of capital. Using a Bourdieusian approach to capital, we focus on how migrants’ temporal and spatial journeys are shaped by and in turn shape their opportunities to mobilize resources and convert them into capitals. These processes depend on migrants’ social positioning, including their gender, class, ethnic and national positioning, as well as citizenship status, and how this is articulated in relation to different fields in different spatial and temporal contexts. Drawing upon our combined corpus of data on migration to the UK, and a lesser extent Germany, with third country nationals and EU citizens and new data collected since the Brexit referendum, we examine these issues through biographical approaches to migrant women’s life stories. In so doing, we build theory on capital accumulation as dynamic, multi-level and spatio-temporally contingent.

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