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Social protest and migration

Migration A–Z


  1. Silvia Pedraza

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm495

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Pedraza, S. 2013. Social protest and migration. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


Considering the relationship between migration and protest, analysts have considered whether a massive exodus – such as took place from East to West Berlin, from Spain or Turkey to Germany, from eastern to western Europe, or from Haiti and Cuba to the United States – is a hindrance or a help to the development of civil society via the use of social protest. Social scientists have approached the question through the analysis that Albert O. Hirschman 1970 first introduced in his Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Firms, organizations, and political parties provide benefits or services. Hirschman argued that when the quality of the benefits or services they provide deteriorates the loyalty of its members is threatened. The members can then express themselves by using one of two options: they can choose to exit – simply leave – or they can use their voice – to organize and protest, calling for change. The thesis is similar to J. S. MacDonald's 1963, whose influence was particularly felt by historians (e.g. Gabaccia 1988). MacDonald posited that political protest and migration were alternative strategies. Hirschman's thesis, however, added the concept of loyalty – to the firm, organization, party, or nation – as that which is threatened by the deterioration experienced, prompting people to emigrate.


  • protests;
  • class;
  • race;
  • ethnocentrism