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Research on post-migration processes usually focuses either on micro-level behaviours or on macro-level interactions between states and their diasporas. This paper aims to fill a gap by proposing a structure/agency approach likely to address the micro-, meso- and macro-level factors that account for cross-border phenomena. The first section compares the main structure/agency approaches (Bourdieu’s theory of practice, Giddens’ structuration theory and Archer’s morphogenetics) with a view to highlighting the core elements that characterise these theories. The second section outlines an innovative framework that combines Habermas’ theory of communicative action and the ‘plural man’ theory of Bernard Lahire. The central idea is to use a renewed concept of social institutions (family, associations and businesses) as an entry to the study of social practices and structuration processes.



Working paper


International Migration Institute

Publication Date




Total pages



transnationalism, structure and agency, Habermas, migration theory, hometown organisations, collective remittances