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Professor Stephen Constantine publishes book, Migration and Empire

Press clipping: Research

Publication date30/09/10

Professor Stephen Constantine's book Migration and Empire, co-authored with Professor Marjory Harper, University of Aberdeen, was published by Oxford University Press in September 2010. The book examines the motives, means and experiences of three main flows of empire migrants from c.1800.

During the nineteenth century the proportion of UK migrants heading to empire destinations, especially to Canada, Australia and New Zealand increased substantially and remained high well into the twentieth century. They included so-called 'surplus women' and 'children in need', shipped overseas to ease perceived social problems at home. Empire migrants also included entrepreneurs and indentured labourers from south Asia, Africa and the Pacific (together with others from the Far East, outside the empire), who relocated in huge numbers with equally transformative effects in, for example, central and southern Africa, the Caribbean, Ceylon, Mauritius and Fiji. The UK at the core of empire was the recipient of the third major stream of empire migrants, especially from the 'New Commonwealth' after 1945. These several migration flows are analysed with a strong appreciation of their commonality and also complex variety. The volume includes discussion of the work of philanthropists as well as of governments and entrepreneurs in organising much empire migration and in the business of recruiting, assisting and transporting preferred migrants. Attention is given to immigration controls that restricted the settlement of some non-white migrants, and to the mixture of motives explaining return-migration. The book concludes by indicating why the special relationship between empire and migration came to an end. Legacies remain, but by the 1970s political change and shifts in the global labour market had eroded earlier patterns.