Alexandra Winkels presents her paper 'Migrant networks and the migration process: considering the spatial and temporal dimensions of social capital' in Parallel session V(D) of the conference Examining Migration Dynamics: Networks and Beyond, 24-26 Sep 13
This paper investigates the different functions of migrant networks at different stages of the migration process. Migration processes are conceptually divided into three stages (a) decision making (b) transition and (c) adaptation. Looking at migration as a spatial as well as a temporal process allows us to consider the role of social capital in managing the risks and opportunities of mobility, and to gain a deeper understanding of migrant agency. Based on a case study of internal migration in Vietnam the research shows that migrants are highly reliant on their family and friends to access resources and information to reduce the challenges associated with moving, settling and both accessing and maintaining income opportunities at the destination. This is particularly pertinent in the context of Vietnam, where household registration and poverty combine to exclude many migrants from accessing opportunities at their chosen destination. I argue that it is important to view the role of social capital over time, and in parallel with economic and political changes, as relationships also change over time and space so that the resources accessible through these social contacts do not always remain constant throughout the migration process.