14 Int'l Migration Rev. 3 (1980)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv14 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Step-Wise Migration: Toward A

Clarification of the Mechanism

Dennis  Conway
Indiana University


     There exists a state of confusion in the migration literature over the
     concept of step-wise migration. Inconsistencies occur in the specifi-
     cation of the scale at which the process operates and there are a host
     of alternative definitions of what constitutes a step-wise progression.
     This article presents an operational definition of step-wise migra-
     tion that appears consistent from both conceptual and methodologi-
     cal points of view.


The  notion of step-wise migration which implies a spatial relocation by
steps or stages from a migrant's origin (invariably a rural home place) to
an intended destination (invariably an urban center), is a concept that has
generated considerable empirical work and theoretical argument since
Ravenstein's initial statements on migration laws (HAgerstrand, 1957;
Harvey  and  Riddell, .1975; Lee, 1966; Olsson, 1965; Ravenstein, 1885,
1889). Unfortunately, clarity has not emerged as a consequence of this
volume  of endeavor. Instead, a variety of approaches have been used to
estimate the incidence of step-by-step movements, as often as not, without
a clear specification of the step-wise migration process under examina-
tion. There have been alternative and often incompatible specifications of
the scale at which the process operates. In short, a clarification is in order.
   The  discussion that follows is concerned with the specification and
measurement   of step-wise migration in the anticipation that such a
clarification will enhance understanding and aid future migration re-
search. It is argued here that geographically similar step-wise patterns of
migration are best distinguished on the basis of locational choices made
by individual households. This not only lays bare the inherent ambigu-
ities in the concept as a process with spatial and hierarchical components,
but enables an operational definition of step-wise migration to be pre-
sented which  is consistent from both conceptual and methodological
points of view. First, it is necessary to trace how the present confusion
exists in the specification of step-wise migration.


IMR  Volume  14 No.  1     3

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