We are pleased to launch a new series of blog posts aimed at providing insights into the key themes, centres of production and geographical foci in migration studies today through an analysis of the coverage of some of the key academic journals in the field. The series is written and researched by the students on the MA in Migration Studies at the University of Birmingham and edited by professor Nando Sigona.
The third contribution in the series is by Aurelena Attias (MA in Migration Studies, 2020-21), and will focus on the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. The analysis is focused on the 2019 Volume.
The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS), published by Taylor & Francis, describes itself as a journal that is interested in publishing academic contributions on issues such as ethnic conflicts, discrimination, racism, nationalism, citizenship and policies of integration. Publishing 16 issues per year and with an impact factor of 3.116 and 823K annual downloads – higher than other prominent journals such as The International Migration Review with an impact factor of 1.944 (IRIS, 2021). This blog entry reviews the aims of the journal with the actual articles, analysing the themes explored in the articles published by JEMS in 2019. Using NVIVO, I conducted a word frequency query where I excluded obvious words such as “migration” and “migrant” or other textual elements that did not add to the topics of the articles. The results demonstrate that while the journal discussed topics such as ethnicity ad integration, key terms in the mission statement such as racism and citizenship are mostly missing. Moreover, the focus of the article displays a clear preference on topics pertaining to the Global North, while barely discussing the Global South. In particular, the analysis will primarily focus on four aspects: titles, keywords, the country of affiliation of authors and the geographical focus of articles.
When looking at the context of these words, it is interesting to notice that the word ‘transnational’ mostly refers to migration from the Global South to the Global North. The word ‘European’ is used in the context of understanding European policies and attitudes towards migrants. With ‘integration’, it is mostly research referred to integration policies in the Global North towards migrants from the Global South. The topic of marriage is concerned with transnational marriage, both between Asians and Westerners and mostly in Asia.
These are the 10 most used keywords to reach audiences. The focus is on transnationalism, integration, marriage, politics, gender and ethnicity. Of the keywords, remittances is the one more directly relevant to departure countries..
Country author(s) are based on and geographical focus of articles
In this section, both authors’ geographical affiliations and countries of focus are considered together, to understand whether the countries explored align with the geographical location of researchers. From the tables it is possible that this is the case: authors and countries of focus come mostly from the Global North, with the overwhelming majority of articles taking a destination-country perspectiveThis finding is in line with what we observed in our reviews of International Migration Review and Migration Studies.
The 10 countries authors are based the most are:
The 10 countries articles focus the most in terms of the scope of the analysis are:
In conclusion, the journal has a long-standing tradition in research on integration and community cohesion. Transnationalism, gender and family are also important topics in the 2019 coverage. Other keywords from the mission statement, however, are far less visible in the 135 articles published in 2019, in particular discrimination and racism. Regarding the countries where the authors are based, research institutions in the Global North (but of course, the country of origin of researchers may tell a different story) are host to the large majority of authors. The Global North focus is also confirmed by the contents of published research with a destination-country perspective dominating the analysis of (im)migration.
IRIS (2020) Mapping migration studies: International Migration Review. Available at: https://superdiversity.net/2021/04/02/mapping-migration-studies-international-migration-review/
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (n.d.) Aims and Scope. Taylor & Francis. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?show=aimsScope&journalCode=cjms20 [Accessed 24/01/2021]