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A Short History of Migration

ISBN: 978-0-7456-6186-5
160 pages
November 2012, Polity
A Short History of Migration (0745661866) cover image
Translated by Carl Ipsen.

This short book provides a succinct and masterly overview of the history of migration, from the earliest movements of human beings out of Africa into Asia and Europe to the present day, exploring along the way those factors that contribute to the successes and failures of migratory groups. Separate chapters deal with the migration flows between Europe and the rest of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries and with the turbulent and complex migratory history of the Americas.

Livi Bacci shows that, over the centuries, migration has been a fundamental human prerogative and has been an essential element in economic development and the achievement of improved standards of living. The impact of state policies has been mixed, however, as states have each established their own rules of entry and departure - rules that today accentuate the differences between the interests of the sending countries, the receiving countries, and the migrants themselves. Lacking international agreement on migration rules owing to the refusal of states to surrender any of their sovereignty in this regard, the positive role that migration has always played in social development is at risk.

This concise history of migration by one of the world's leading demographers will be an indispensable text for students and for anyone interested in understanding how the movement of people has shaped the modern world.

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Preface

Chapter One - Waves of Progress and Gradual Migration

Chapter Two - Selection and Reproduction: The Settler Effect

Chapter Three - Organized Migrations

Chapter Four - Three Centuries: 1500-1800

Chapter Five - A Quickening Pace: 1800-1913

Chapter Six - The Last Century: The Trend Reverses, 1914-2010

Chapter Seven - Three Globalizations, Migration, and the Rise of America

Chapter Eight - A Tumultuous Present and an Uncertain Future: 2010-2050

Chapter Nine - On the Move, in an Orderly Fashion

Appendix

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Massimo Livi Bacci is Professor of Demography at the University of Florence.
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  • A succinct and masterly overview of the history of migration, from the earliest movements of human beings out of Africa into Asia and Europe to the present day.
  • Separate chapters deal with the migration flows between Europe and the rest of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries and with the turbulent and complex migratory history of the Americas.
  • Livi Bacci shows that, over the centuries, migration has been a fundamental human prerogative and has been an essential element in economic development and the achievement of improved standards of living.
  • This concise history of migration by one of the world’s leading demographers will be an indispensable text for students and for anyone interested in understanding how the movement of people has shaped the modern world.
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"This elegantly written book develops a compelling argument about the role of migrations in the history of mankind. An eminent historical demographer, Livi-Bacci is able to bring the demographic perspective to bear on the highly complex phenomenon of migration - whether in the context of Ancient times or in today’s context of globalization, where immigration has become a highly controversial and politicized issue.  A compelling read for a general audience wishing to understand the 'migration problem' and its relevance for today’s public policy."
Bruno Ramirez, Université de Montréal

"The appearance of any book by demographic historian Massimo Livi-Bacci is cause for celebration and one on migration especially welcome. Migration, more than most issues, is best understood in the context of long-term patterns.  This book, drawing on research in several languages, deftly puts the European experience of both emigration and immigration into long-term historical perspective, distilling six centuries into fewer than 100 pages."
J.R. McNeill, Georgetown University

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