Circular labor migration in West Africa and the "culture of migration"
##For a long time migration research in West Africa has been dominated by the study of economic factors at the places of migration origin and destination. The question as to why migration continues and even goes up in the face of economic failure cannot be successfully explained on the basis of this model. Taking into account the increasing significance of mobility within the context of globalization, it is particlarly important to choose the appropriate ethnographic approach for migration research. A popular reaction is the modification of participant observation, leading to the method of "multi-sited ethnography" introduced by George Marcus. However, in the contest of methods between stationary and multi-centred field research, the questions of cultural embedding at the places of migration origin and the identity of migrants needs to be granted high priority. By comparing the studies of Charles Piot and Meyer Fortes it is demonstrated that questions about migration motives need to be clarified in the first instance by stationary field research. Further evidence is provided by a case study carried out by the author in Burkina Faso. The key to future migration studies is the concept of the "migration culture", focusing on the perspective of the people left behind as well as the changing identities of the migrants.##
Keywords: migration, method, fieldwork, identity, social processes, case studies, multi-sited ethnography, Fortes, M., Piot, C., Marcus, G.