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In migration scholarship, questions of social conflict and transformation tend to be addressed as the backdrop rather than as central dynamics in changing migration practices. This article calls for the integration of migration within wider sociological analyses of social struggle and change. While it is true that the emergence of interdisciplinary approaches, such as Transnational Studies, Diaspora Studies and Mobility Studies, has moved migration studies in new directions, migration continues to be addressed separately from scholarship on social conflict and change. Nonetheless, these new domains challenge received sociological categories and develop more nuanced accounts by identifying distinct experiences of migration as shaped by contemporary mobilities and transnational processes. In this article I review these approaches and consider their potential for opening up new directions for the study of migration as an aspect of wider social struggles. I also examine the extent to which these fields of study work against the ‘capture’ of knowledge on migration by those forces that attempt to control it. Given the limitations identified, I argue that the ‘autonomy of migration’ approach provides important pointers for how social struggle and the politics of knowledge production might be centred in the study of migration.
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