The 2008 World Migration Report from the International Organization for Migration is an enormous document that reflects efforts led by business sectors and some sections of governments in rich countries to move away from policy agendas overwhelmingly focused on restriction of international migration, towards a somewhat more open global economic order, and to build acceptance of substantial in-migration to match market demand. This paper illustrates use of methods of discourse analysis to identify the principles of selection, interpretation, prioritisation and argumentation that structure such a report. It gives particular attention to the Report’s choices and use of key terms, like ‘mobility’, ‘needs’ and ‘globalization’, and of key metaphors which guide the discussion, notably the metaphor of ‘flows’. Dominated by the mental models of neoclassical and neoliberal economics and the policy preoccupations of rich countries, the Report’s central claim is the “need” for international cooperation to match labour demand and supply within a global framework, as a concomitant of economic globalisation in other respects; and that this will support economic development worldwide. A human rights stance makes occasional appearances, represented by the term ‘human mobility’ rather than ‘labour mobility’ or ‘mobility for economic purposes’, but remains firmly subordinated. Migrants’ opinions and agency receive little attention; economic priorities based on market power dominate.

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International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
ISS Working Papers - General Series
ISS Working Paper Series / General Series
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Campillo Carrete, B., & Gasper, D. (2010). Managing migration in the IOM’s World migration report 2008. ISS Working Paper Series / General Series (Vol. 498, pp. 1–30). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/19429