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C3 The Production of Spaces of Skilled Migration: Recruitment and Mobility of Physicians

Prof. Dr. Christine Lang

Christine Lang, Foto: Simone Reukauf

Social Geography
Osnabrück University

The project examines the production of new spaces of skilled migration at the example of the recruitment and mobility of health professionals. Specifically, the focus is on physicians. The aim is to understand how spaces of migration are produced and change in the context of globally increasing demand and recruitment of health professionals. ›Spaces of migration‹ encompass not only changing patterns of spatial mobility, but also the meanings that are attributed to different spaces – such as regions, countries, places – with regard to migration and that constitute these spaces e.g. as regions (or countries or places) of destination and origin.

The migration of health professionals is often observed from a spatial perspective – as spatial movement patterns and their consequences for healthcare provision in certain regions. However, spaces and their significance for migration usually appear to be given. In contrast, this project works with a relational and constructivist understanding of space, which it combines with perspectives from reflexive migration research. The project asks how and why new spaces of migration are created and become meaningful in the context of increasing demand and recruitment of health professionals and what consequences this has for mobility options and decisions.

To investigate this, the project will analyse translocal negotiations of spaces of migration in the interplay of different actors and contexts: it will focus on (potentially) mobile doctors and their networks as well as relevant organizations (e.g. hospitals, training institutions, recruitment agencies) and institutional frameworks (e.g. regarding the recognition of professional qualifications). The empirical research is based on two potentially linked regions of origin and destination: (1) Belgrade and Novi Sad in Serbia and (2) hospitals in rural regions in Lower Saxony and Bavaria in Germany. The project will work with qualitative methods: semi-structured interviews, document analysis and participant observation. The empirical research will focus on the local and translocal practices of different actors, the underlying spatial differentiations and representations as well as the relevant institutional and structural contexts.