Working Paper

International Migration and Knowledge

Published 1 January 2005 / By Allan Williams

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The paper explores some of the changing but increasingly important ways in which international migration contributes to knowledge creation and transfer. The paper focuses on four main issues. First, the different ways in which knowledge is conceptualised, and how different types relate to migration. Secondly, the significance of international migration in knowledge creation and transfer, and how this is mediated by whether migration is bounded (by company structures) or constitutes parts of boundaryless careers, and free agent labour migration. Thirdly, the situating of migrants within firms, and the particular obstacles to their engagement in co-learning and knowledge translation. And, fourthly, a focus on the importance of place, which is explored through theories of learning regions and creativity, and notions of the transferability of social learning across different spheres. The need to view migrant learning and knowledge creation/transfer as widely dispersed, rather than as elite practices in privileged regions, is a recurrent theme of the paper.


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