The Migration of Refugee Social Movements in States of Displacement: Rationalist and Constructivist Perspectives on Refugee Mobilization
This paper examines refugee nationalist movements through rationalist and constructivist lenses. It acknowledges the inherent mobility of the refugee in his or her state of displacement, and scrutinizes how that mobility informs the shape of the movement. Resource mobilization theory suggests that as refugees move to countries where they are able to capitalize on more resources of a richer variety, their movements grow in complexity and strength. Those who advance the importance of political opportunity structures might posit that refugee nationalist movements require the legal and institutional channels available in less repressive states, and that the movements would flourish more prominently in these. A constructivist approach, concerned with how mobilizers imbue their struggle with identity and meaning, might argue that the resourcefulness or permissiveness of the space in which the movement operates is less important than the symbolic power of the space to unify the movement and frame its agents as the legitimate heirs to power. The paper addresses each of these approaches, drawing on evidence from the refugee nationalist movement of political dissidents from Burma in Thailand, Japan, Australia, and the United States.
Bridging the Rationalist-Constructivist Divide