Tensions that Make a Difference: Institutions, Interests, and the Immigrant Drive

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12 Scopus citations


This article examines the dynamics underlying contemporary South-North population displacements and the common gaps between public perceptions of the phenomenon and actual realities. I analyze these dynamics and gaps by focusing on the clash between opposing forces at various stages of the migration process. These tensions occur between actors endowed with unequal power, leading to inefficient Nash-like equilibria where the interests of less powerful participants and those of society-at-large in the successful integration of its newest members are not maximized. Matrices of hypothetical payoffs for relevant actors are presented for illustration. Systemic changes that would alter the present situation in the direction of more efficient and stable outcomes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)563-578
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Assimilation
  • Immigration
  • Institutions
  • Integration
  • Nash equilibrium
  • Power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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