The Meaning of Immigration
This paper examines the phenomenon of human migration in general and immigration in particular. It analyzes the meaning of these words by examining the common-sense, or dictionary, definitions of the term, to show that there is no substantive difference between the two. It then examines the etymology of words such as "im"migration and "e"migration to show that an individual cannot properly be called an "im"migrant or an "e"migrant until after his or her death. Finally, it examines the use of the word migration by biologists to show that they employ it in a very different way than do historians and other Humanists or Social Scientists. It concludes by attempting to ask whether these other definitions are appropriate for the analysis of human migration. In asking this question, it ultimately touches upon the controversial issue of sociobiology and whether the theories of sociobiologists have relevancy for the understanding of human migration.
Keywords: Migration, Immigration, Emigration, Sociobiology
Dr. Neil Larry Shumsky
Associate Professor, Department of History, Virginia Tech