Social components of migration: Experiences from Southern Province, Zambia

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28 Scopus citations


Common assumptions attribute migration decisions to economic and environmental causes. This paper reveals the importance of local power structures-at community and household levels-in understanding migration. It examines migration processes in Zambia's Southern Province using data collected from two qualitative research projects. Until recently, when droughts and cattle diseases began to plague the area, Southern Province was known for its ideal farming conditions. Since the late 1980s, Southern Province farmers have begun migrating to frontier areas farther north where land and rain are plentiful. While local environmental and economic contexts factor into people's migration decisions, control over farming resources and the ability to mobilize social support networks in home villages also influence people's decision to relocate. Data presented in this paper come from the longitudinal Gwembe Tonga Research Project (GTRP) and a two-year study on employment and labor markets in Southern Province, headed by the Development Studies Center, University of Bath, England.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-135
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Africa
  • Agriculture
  • Economy
  • Family
  • Household
  • Migration
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (all)


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