ABSTRACT

Migration flows do not yield  themselves  easily  to any particular  theoretical  framework. This was probably why Davis  (1988) was  led to comment that  migration “has been opaque to theoretical reasoning in general” and Massey  et al. (1998) and Massey and Taylor (2004) observed that migration lacks a  common theoretical framework (also see Arango 2000). Yet, over the years,  the World-System (WS) approach (see particularly Wallerstein 1983, 1988;  Chase-Dunn and Hall 1997) has gained increasing acceptance in the field of  international migration (Portes and Walton 1981, Straubhaar 1988, Massey  1998). By treating migration as inherent to the capitalist world economy, the  WS school holds the view that it reinforces the global inequality between the  core and the periphery. The change in the composition of migration toofrom the unskilled to the semiskilled and the skilled, and the feminization of  migration-seems to correspond to changes in the world capitalist economy  such as a deepening of capital penetration and flexible accumulation. However,  the world-system approach is not without its limitations, and some refinements  appear to be called for, as has been attempted in this chapter.