19 Apr Political science and the history of migration
Olaf Kleist points out how political scientists use historical analysis in migration studies in three ways: tracing developments, comparing cases, and analyzing the political use of migration history. Problems arise from the eclectic use of historical contexts and data, the ignorance of migration phenomena prior to 1648 and how political scientists tend to ignore complex historical developments. Kleist argues for better comparisons between the analysis of today’s phenomena and past migration experiences – going back to Antiquity, Medieval and Early Modern History. However, in the field of migration studies, historians could also learn from political scientists in focusing more on institutions as relevant actors and on structures. This could help us understand how asylum is negotiated, how actors on different levels co-operate and how the political organisation of society forms a most relevant background for the accommodation of refugees.