Impact of demographic dynamics on migration

Tuesday Seminar
François Héran
Date and Time: 
Tue, 15/10/2019 - 12:00am
03:30 PM to 05:00 PM
LH 534 (Unusual venue)

It is a widespread view, including among researchers, to believe that the primary motor of international migration is a system of communicating vessels: the least developed countries would migrate mechanically to the most developed, the overpopulated countries to the least dense, the most fertile to the less fertile, and so on. The notion of "climate migrations" seems to add a new example to this series. Several metaphors are widely used to express this traditional "gravity model" of international migration. Some have a scholarly flavour, such as the "natural" circulation of migrants from areas of "high demographic pressures" to "low pressure" areas. Others are more popular and feed public debate (like the "magnet effect"), mingling with classical rhetorical figures: the "slippery slope" argument, the "perverse effect" arguments, etc. In order to refute this mechanical vision of migration flows, we shall analyse the "Bilateral Migration Database" (IMF, IOM, OECD) which now offers a global view of migration systems and facilitates the integration of a wide spectrum of factors. The analysis will be supported by examples from Eastern Europe, the Indian Subcontinent, and sub-Saharan Africa. It will also be suggested that quantitative analyzes of migration systems should be accompanied by a critical analysis of the rhetorical systems of argumentation.

François Héran is the Chair Itinerant of College de France for India in the year 2019. Since June 2017, he has been Professor at the Collège de France on the Migrations and Companies Chair while heading the Convergences Migrations Institute.He has previously taught applied statistics, demography and sociology at ENSAE (National School of Statistics and Economic Administration), Sciences Po, École des ponts and the European Doctoral School of Demography.
In 1980, he joined the INED (National Institute for Demographic Studies) and was soon placed at the disposal of INSEE (National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies). He first worked in the INSEE Household Condition Division (1980-1992) before being appointed head of the Surveys and Demographic Studies Division (1993-1998), which produces and analyzes demographic indicators of France. He led a series of national surveys on sociability, the formation of couples (with Michel Bozon), the educational efforts of families, family history (with Laurent Toulemon), the transmission of languages, electoral participation (with Dominique Rouault), immigration. He has researched the trajectories of migrants' descendants but also the discriminations suffered. From 2008 to 2012, Prof. Héran chaired the European Association for Population Studies. At the end of 2010, he received the Descartes-Huygens Prize awarded for all of his work by the Royal Academy of Sciences of the Netherlands. Among his numerous monographs and publications, the recent are Migrations and societies (2018), With Immigration: Measuring, Debating, Taking Action (2017), and Figures of kinship. A critical history of structural reason (2009).