Policy Brief on Migrants' Myths and Imaginaries

As the myth of the Eldorado evokes, international migration is partly shaped by the perceptions and imaginaries of migrants themselves. Beyond such cliché, however, there is little knowledge regarding the nature and influence of myths and imaginaries on migration dynamics. As symbolic collective representations of individuals’ aspirations, hopes and dreams, myths and imaginaries constitute an important part of migrants’ experiences and have concrete implications for the study of migration.

This policy brief examines how migrants’ myths and imaginaries influence the relationship between migration policies and migration movements. The focus is on four myths and imaginaries – the myth of the migrant-as-hero, the myth of freedom of geographical mobility, the myths and imaginaries related to (im)migration categories, and the myths and imaginaries related to the country of destination as a country of human rights and better life – that shed new light on the dynamic interactions between migration policies and migration patterns. Based on a detailed analysis of these four myths, the policy brief reveals how myths and imaginaries intervene as an additional element in the relationships between migration policies and migrants’ projects and strategies, and thus serves to move beyond simplified “dual” interactions between policies and migratory movements. In conclusion, we advance three policy-relevant recommendations.

Read “Migrants' Myths and Imaginaries: Understanding Their Role in Migration Movements and Policies”, by Delphine Nakache, Hélène Pellerin and Luisa Veronis (2015).

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