Making Cities through Migration Industries: Introduction to the Special Issue

Nir Cohen*, Tatiana Fogelman, Henrik Lebuhn

*Corresponding author

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Migration industry has recently emerged as a lens through which to theorize the intertwinement of non-state actors who aim to provide diverse migration-pertaining services. However, while much of their work is done in and through cities, consequently (re)forming variegated urban landscapes, scholarly literature has thus far neglected the nexus between cities and the migration industry. In this special issue we begin filling this gap by exploring the significance of migration industries - as a resurgent concept and an area of research from migration studies - for understanding the urban. We start by by reviewing the urbanization of migration studies, highlighting its key limits. We then move on to introduce the migration industries debate, pointing out its existing implicit urban dimensions. We proceed by elaborating our main argument about why and how migration industries provide an especially productive lens for urbanists to consider. Specifically, we stress the three key analytical vantage points that the attention to migration industries enables us to see as central to contemporary city-making. These are its political-economic embeddedness, the urban-constitutive nature of trans-local connectivities, and how business-driven city-making dovetails with more serendipitous, bottom-up shaping of the arrival city. Each of these points also describes how individual papers speak to them. We conclude by briefly outlining a research agenda for migration industries that is thoughtfully embroiled in the (post)-pandemic urban.
TidsskriftUrban Studies
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)2161-2178
Antal sider18
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2022


  • migration industry
  • intermediaries
  • integration industry
  • urban
  • city

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