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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on those parts of the world that so far have been left out of discussions about urbanization, ethnicity, and migration, such as China, India, and sub-Saharan Africa. It shows that the institutional structure of cities largely determines the mode of rural-urban migration. The forms of migration and settlement depend to a large extent on institutional arrangements in various parts of the world. Key questions are: what do cities have to offer to immigrants and how is urban membership defined? This urban profile interacts with rural institutions ranging from family systems, legal arrangements, and the level of commercialization to cultural and spiritual practices. It is argued that in order to understand changes over time, this institutional and materialist approach has a greater explanatory power than religious and cultural factors that stress allegiances with village and family.

Keywords: urbanization, ethnicity, migration, institutional arrangements

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