Saskia Sassen has lectured at the London School of Economics and is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. Her previous books include The Global City, The Mobility of Labour, and Globalization and its Discontents (The New Press).
While University of Chicago sociologist Sassen's scholarly study focuses on migrations within Europe, it holds valuable lessons for the debate on U.S. immigration policy. She painstakingly dismantles the myth that Europe is not a continent of immigrants by documenting a forgotten history of refugee flows, mass labor migrations and movements of religious and political asylum seekers over the last three centuries. She makes the case that immigrants and migrant workers have played an indispensable role in the building of Europe's cities and infrastructure, as well as the development of culture. Sassen (The Global City, etc.) shows how convulsive population movementsÄthe mass exodus precipitated by Balkan wars and the Ottoman Empire's break-up; the emigration of 2.5 million Eastern European Jews between 1880 and 1914; millions of displaced persons on the move in two world warsÄdrove Western European nations to try to stem immigration and refugee flows. Countering the popular misconception of immigration as a gigantic invasion or an irreversible deluge, Sassen argues that migrations are highly selective, structured processes: only certain people leave, a flux conditioned by relations between sending and receiving countries; moreover, there is considerable return migration. She outlines an enlightened approach to an overarching immigration policy for Europe and the U.S., one rooted in recognition of the globalization of economic activity and the need for immigrants' civil rights and full integration into the societies to which they migrate. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.