A recent three-part panel discussion at the Development Studies Association’s annual conference, co-convened by Tanja Bastia, Laura Hammond and Anita Ghimire from MIDEQ, sought to grapple with exactly these issues. Contributions ranged from efforts to develop conceptual frameworks for studying migration and inequality across multiple contexts in the global South to in-depth case studies of migrant flows within and between countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

A diversity of contexts and a concern with every stage of the migration process – from aspirations to journeys to decisions about return – posed the challenging question of where to focus in ‘locating’ inequalities – at origin, at destination or between the two. Similarly, many contributions showed how investigating inequalities and migration requires the inclusion of non-migrants alongside the experiences and outcomes for migrants themselves. This includes those who are ‘left behind’ by migrant family members, those who choose not to migrate while others in their community do and those already living in destinations where migrants settle.