Mapping migration studies: An empirical analysis of the coming of age of a research field

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Migration studies have developed rapidly as a research field over the past decades. This article provides an empirical analysis not only on the development in volume and the internationalization of the field, but also on the development in terms of topical focus within migration studies over the past three decades. To capture volume, internationalisation, and topic focus, our analysis involves a computer-based topic modelling of the landscape of migration studies. Rather than a linear growth path towards an increasingly diversified and fragmented field, as suggested in the literature, this reveals a more complex path of coming of age of migration studies. Although there seems to be even an accelerated growth for migration studies in terms of volume, its internationalisation proceeds only slowly. Furthermore, our analysis shows that rather than a growth of diversification of topics within migration topic, we see a shift between various topics within the field. Finally, our study shows that there is no consistent trend to more fragmentation in the field; in contrast, it reveals a recent recovery of connectedness between the topics in the field, suggesting an institutionalisation or even theoretical and conceptual coming of age of migration studies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMigration Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019

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