The difficult conceptualisation of circular migration between the EU and the MENA region
Title: The difficult conceptualisation of circular migration between the EU and the MENA region
Author: FAKHOURY, Tamirace
Citation: Journal of identity and migration studies, 2010, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 110-136
ISSN: 1843 – 5610
This article examines the extent to which circular migration (CM) can be framed first as a useful migration typology and second as an efficient migration strategy in the MENA region and between the latter and the EU. After discussing the difficult conceptualisation of the circular migration model, it alludes to the inherent discrepancies between the normative, empirical and prescriptive connotations of the concept, then it analyses different examples of circularity in the MENA region and between the latter and the EU. It concludes that since the very concept of circular migration (as proposed by the EU) is still in its exploratory and genesis phases, it is advisable to refrain from conferring an overvalued significance on the CM approach and to consider it rather as a strategy inherent to a more global approach to labour migration in the EU-MENA context. On a more theoretical level, and beyond the specificities of the EU and MENA, this article would suggest caution in the normative use of circular migration. As much contention prevails over circular migration as a migration typology, it would be recommendable that CM be rather considered an option, a policy initiative suitable for some countries more than others, or a strategy to manage migration trends in transnational contexts. I. Circularity in the backdrop of new and shifting migration geographies As migration dynamics have grown into a confusing interplay of social, human and spatial variables, the frontiers of mobility have become increasingly
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