Geocomplexity Explored Through Human Migration

In his 1996 paper “Asia on the Move: Research Challenges for Population Geography”, Graeme Huge explores the dynamics of a newly emerging network of economic migration, characteristic of the fluidity of the developed and developing world in the late 20th and early 21st century. I must say I am surprised at the date of this paper’s publishing, mostly due to the author’s mention of social networks and the relevance this paper has 20 years later. I now believe he used the term “social network” differently than we do today (a social network being a network of people socially connected, not necessarily through mediums such as Facebook or the internet).

Geocomplexity is a self-defining term, and as a concept is very applicable to what the author calls “Population Geography.” In striving to chart the dimensions of assessing the complexity of international population flows, he reveals why this increased level of population mobility is not simply a labor-related phenomenon. Although these economic migrants are motivated to move by the prospect of work, there are many other factors to consider.

Private and Government Institutions operate within and outside the law to aid immigration and emigration based on their own country’s needs and the needs of an entire region. Asian countries are in disjoint; they exist in different stages of the international migration transition, providing a political dimension to the migration and commoditizing labor. These economic migrants are not all hopeless, poor laborers as the term might suggest. Wealthy individuals have the means to lead double lives in the business sector, participating in the workings of Asian and Euro-American economies. Due to the inherent spatial dimension of this phenomenon, Hugo asserts many reasons to why this complex issue is one of geographic relevance, and why it is the responsibility of geographers to race the growth of data with the formulation of spatial analytical methods.



(RIP Graeme Hugo)

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