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Significance of kinship in rural-urban migration O'Rourke, Margaret Norah Joan

Abstract

Throughout the world a greater proportion of the population are living in cities which are growing because of in-migration. Many accounts of the migrations and of migrants in cities have been written. While most accounts emphasize the alienation and disorganization of the migrant, there are a growing number of accounts which indicate that the migrant helps and is helped by his kin group. These latter accounts have been analyzed in an attempt to discover the significance of kinship in rural-urban migration. The literature relating to migration theory has been briefly reviewed. The theory of William Petersen was found most useful but the typology he proposed is too general to contribute much understanding to the problem of rural-urban migration. The two types of Petersen's theory into which the rural-urban migration fit have been expanded into four types or levels of rural-urban migration. Each of the four types is characterized by different control of land resources, participation in ceremonial life and recognition of kinship rights and obligations. These are assumed to be interdependent. Case studies are used to illustrate types. These cases confirm that while there is a considerable lessening in the range of economic obligations to kin, the size of the potential kin group does not shrink. While the potential kin circle is large, the member of the kin group in the city selects, on the basis of personal preference, those whom he considers effective kin.

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