Why do Anthropologist study Migration

Essay by kevinkk0821College, UndergraduateB+, October 2014

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How and Why an Anthropologist Studies Migration

In the myriad of topics, migration is actually the one that anthropology came late to study until the early 1960s (Brettel 2003: ix). However, nowadays anthropologists can hardly ignore the prevalent phenomenon of migration. Migration, or more precisely saying, human migration refers to any movement of humans from one area to another in response to social needs, which can occur over any distance and in various group sizes. (Manning 2005:132). When asking why we as an anthropologist should study such a topic, undoubtedly one can easily say that because migration involves high interactivity among people across different boundaries that arouse our attention. But we should also ask, "How these activities help us know about human?"

The most manifest topic we could observe from migration is the struggle, conflicts and confrontation of the two cultures. Conflicts and struggles will always happen when two culture meet, it could be in many forms and in many ways.

Discrimination of social class and ethnicity, like the nuisance complaints received by Filipina domestic helpers, is one of the forms, while the covert resistance discipline of them (Constable 1997:12), is also another product in the emergence of a contact zone. Understanding how these conflicts are constructed gives us a clearer picture on human behavior. Take the above example again, knowing how the "modern discipline" between the workers and employers works helps us understand how human under certain criteria will obey to subtle coercion (in the case, it is when the employers give plausible fake autonomy like a list of duties). Moreover, When looking at these conflicts, we could also look at how they caused a change in the culture of both sides, how diffusion and enculturation take place. From observing them, we could see how two distinct cultures clash,