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The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration and Transnational Social Spaces$
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Thomas Faist

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198293910

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198293910.001.0001

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The Selective Functions of Social Capital: Why Are There So Few Migrants Out of Most Places?

The Selective Functions of Social Capital: Why Are There So Few Migrants Out of Most Places?

Chapter:
(p.124) 5 The Selective Functions of Social Capital: Why Are There So Few Migrants Out of Most Places?
Source:
The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration and Transnational Social Spaces
Author(s):

Thomas Faist

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198293910.003.0005

Social capital depends on continuous transactions establishing social ties or collective representations expressed in symbolic ties, or both. The exit of people or whole groups abroad potentially depletes the shock of social capital or at least changes its composition. Because the rate of migration not only varies along countries but is also highly unevenly distributed within developing countries, one needs to look more closely at the selection process. This helps one to distinguish the role of social capital in relative immobility — internal migration and in situ adaptation — and international migration. There are basically three propositions guiding the analysis in this chapter. Also, this chapter discusses the costs of transferring social capital abroad. Moving capital incurs maintenance costs, such as keeping ties alive to home and adaptation costs that arise from at least partly adapting to a new environment.

Keywords:   international migration, social capital, social ties, developing countries, adaptation costs, relative immobility, collective representations, symbolic ties

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