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Are contemporary EU debates regarding labor migration correct when they assert that new and unprecedented problems face modern states attempting to regulate migration and labor markets?
Historical analysis can offer significant parallels to earlier eras and waves of labor migration that can inform and refute current debates on the topic.
Logan and Bjorkenwall examine historical debates and outcomes related to labor migration in Europe and compare it with contemporary EU debate and policy on labor migration. Logan compares legal documents, charity records, and pamphlets to trace the history of concerns about “masterless men,” “sturdy beggars,” and “traveling rogues” within England for comparison with contemporary concerns about “new” trends in migration. Bjorkenwall examines the lives of Finnish miners who immigrated to Northern Sweden and complicates claims for the “success” of the open labor market of the Nordic states in terms of the human costs of migration.
Contemporary EU debate has, for the most part, ignored historical examples that could offer a more nuanced and humane model for discussing and regulating labor migration. These examples should be considered before potentially harmful policies are adopted.
European History | History | Political Science
Logan, Barbara and Bjorkenwall, Ruth, "Mapping Migration: Contemporary European Policy Debate and the History of Nation-State Interventions in the Movement of Labor" (2015). CGS Faculty Awards 2015. 10.