International Migration, Agency, and Regional Development in Rural Europe

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International migration to rural areas has become an increasingly important process in Europe, with the potential to act as a key driver of change in the localities concerned. Research has started to document patterns of international migration and the experiences of migrants, but this emergent body of literature is partial and fragmented between regional-scale studies focused on specific types of migration. This paper aims to construct a more holistic perspective by drawing on evidence from three research projects that collectively have examined multiple dimensions of migration in several case study regions across Europe. It distils overarching characteristics of contemporary international migration to rural areas that emphasize the complexity of migration processes and impacts and which challenge established perceptions of migration in rural areas. It then proceeds to focus on the impact of international migration for recipient localities and in particular considers the potential contribution of international migration to regional development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-593
JournalDocuments d'Analisi Geografica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Sept 2016


  • International migration
  • rural change
  • economic development
  • Europe


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