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Palgrave Macmillan, London

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Demography, Migration and Security in the Middle East

Authors: Nazli Choucri,

Publish Date: 1997
Volume: , Issue:, Pages: 95-118
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One of the most curious aspects of the study of politics among nations is the near total disregard for the phenomenon of international migration. The movement of people across international boundaries continues to be ignored by even the most perceptive analysts of international relations. Today the policy agenda of many states is being set — and constrained — by the mobility of people and especially of labor. Interstate relations are increasingly influenced by variables that had seldom entered security calculations in any explicit way. And to revert to an earlier sociological literature, even the national ‘character’ of many states is being influenced by people entering their borders in large numbers. People on the move is not a subjective, perceptual, or cognitive phenomenon: it is empirical, objective, factual, and very real. In theory, sovereign states determine who can enter and who can become a citizen. Few states in the Middle East represent the proverbial sovereign; states vary in their capacity to control access, to design migration policies, or to implement their will. Control over national borders is honored more in the breach. But the very effort itself places the state at the center of the migration process.1



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