Assimilation, Transnationalism and the Structure of Migrant Networks: New Data and Theory

Ashton M. Verdery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ted Mouw, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Social network theory as applied to the migration literature is underdeveloped, chiefly because a lack of data has not allowed quantitative research on the structure of migrant social networks. We review previous approaches to the measurement of social networks in migration scholarship and demonstrate their inadequacies for asking theoretically motivated questions about the mechanisms by which social networks influence all aspects of the migration experience. We develop specific hypotheses about the structure of migrant networks and test these using recently collected data with an innovative study design that focuses on network measurement. Using the vast literature on social networks more fully, as well as collecting direct social network measures and testing hypotheses about the structure of migrant networks, we offer new theoretical directions for the literature on migration and social networks.

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Presented in Session 192: Data and Methods in the Study of Migration, Neighborhoods, and Urbanization