Multidimensional well-being and capability expansion in forced migration contexts

Vanore, Michaella (2016). 'Multidimensional well-being and capability expansion in forced migration contexts' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

abstract Over the past year, increasing numbers of asylum-seeking migrants reaching Europe’s borders have incited active discussion of the potential links between (forced) mobility and human development. The use of the term “migration crisis” suggests that the countries and institutions to which forced migrants move are unprepared to address the potential consequences of large-scale population movements for the well-being of both migrants themselves as well as the countries and communities that absorb them. Within public discourse, the potential implications for incoming asylum-seeking populations on indicators of well-ness in receiving communities—namely public safety and security—have dominated discussion. The consequences of mobility for the well-being of migrants themselves, however, and the families and communities that remain in the country of origin, have been largely neglected within this discussion. This proposed panel address the potential consequences of (forced) mobility on different capabilities and aspects of well-being among both migrants and the households that remain in conflict-affected countries. The papers proposed for this panel address how mobility in different “moments” of the migration trajectory—while migrants are in transit, in a country of (temporary) destination, or upon return—can affect the well-being outcomes among both migrants and members of their social networks. While there is a significant body of literature that addresses the broader, conceptual relationship between migration and the well-being and development outcomes of the individuals directly and indirectly involved in it (e.g., UNDP, 2009; de Haas, 2008), there is a relative scarcity of research on forced migrant populations and how their mobility experiences affect multidimensional well-being. The literature that is available on the well-being of forced migrants has focused heavily on psychosocial health (e.g., Ryan, Dooley, & Benson, 2008; Bhugra, 2004), and much has addressed the well-being of refugees accepted and settled in high-income destination countries. Different types of migrant populations in different geographical contexts and at different stages of the migration cycle may be expected to manifest markedly different outcomes, however, as access to resources, capabilities, and subsequently realised functionings may be uniquely enabled or constrained in specific environments. The selected contributions to this panel complement one another through their inclusion of different populations (e.g., forced migrants, irregular migrants, families of migrants in the origin country) whose capabilities and opportunities may be both extended or constrained by mobility. The contributions also complement one another by highlighting how certain characteristics—such as ethnic group membership, time of migration or entry, and migration status, among others—can contribute to inequality of opportunities as well as in outcomes. The included papers highlight that migrants are an internally heterogeneous population, comprised of individuals whose pre-migration contexts as well as experiences in transit and settlement can shape how their mobility experiences constrain or enhance their capabilities and those of the families and communities to which they belong.

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