Environment as a Multifaceted Migration Motive: Meanings and Interpretations Among a Group of Young Adults in Sweden

Type

Journal Article

Author(s)

Vilhelmson, B.
Thulin, E.

Title

Environment as a Multifaceted Migration Motive: Meanings and Interpretations Among a Group of Young Adults in Sweden

Year

2015

Journal

Population, Space and Place

Abstract

The need for a change of living environment is an often-expressed motive in surveys of migrants–in addition to better-defined social, educational, and economic reasons. Studies also suggest that environmental motives have become more frequent and influential over time. While ticking the ‘change of environment’ box of a questionnaire is easy, the underlying concept is highly complex, wide-ranging, and difficult to measure and theorise. This study explores the meaning prospective migrants attach to the environmental motive in relation to experienced and/or anticipated future moves. We go beyond the conventional quantitative approaches of coding and classification, and draw empirically on in-depth interviews with 16 urban young adults living in Sweden. Results indicate that they attach many meanings to the concept: a felt personal need to encounter completely new situations, people, and places; a longing for big city social life and culture; a need to connect more closely to nature and outdoor activities; dissatisfaction with present living settings; and, overall, that recurrent relocation is a perceived social norm. Furthermore, the traditional view in which environmental motives contrast or are subordinated to job-related motives is challenged. The results have implications for the understanding and theorising of migration motives, and for the more comprehensive classification of environmental motives in future research. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Citation

Vilhelmson, B., & Thulin, E. (2015). Environment as a Multifaceted Migration Motive: Meanings and Interpretations Among a Group of Young Adults in Sweden. Population, Space and Place. URL : http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/psp.1924

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