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Migration, Risk, and Uncertainty: Theoretical Perspectives


Allan M. Williams, Faculty of Management and Law, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK.



Risk shapes, and is shaped by, migration: although widely acknowledged, this is unevenly, and mostly only implicitly, theorised and analysed. Starting from the distinction between risk and uncertainty, the paper contrasts the different approaches of economics and sociology to theorising risk, in terms of scale, social constructionism, and being informed by risk as opposed to being at risk. It reviews the extent to which six theoretical approaches have been, and could be, applied to migration, risk, and uncertainty: human capital, risk tolerance, new economics of migration, risk and culture, risk society, and governmentality. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.