- The Emergence of Planning Orientations in a Modernizing Community
- Population issues and migration
- Contexualizing census and survey data
- Global migration may be found at Empirical.
Alan Simmons was an Acting Director as the Director Alan oversaw the Centre at a transformative moment and the addition of a focus on migration studies. Alan “played a critical leadership role in the consolidation of the institution.”
Alan completed a three-year term as Chair of the Department of Sociology.
He describes as “an area of privileged entry into the critical examination of social inequality and the study of power in social process.” In his work, Alan strives for a balance between understanding the theoretical and doing the practical work with communities.
Recognizing that the geopolitical processes and inequalities that drive migration are global in scope, Alan has an interest in Asia and West Africa but has focused his research on Latin America and the Caribbean.
Alan is focusing on completing two projects, one with Salvadorian and Guatemalan communities in Toronto on their migration and settlement experiences, and the other on Latin American youth experiences and identities. Using the methodologies of participatory research, the goal of these projects is to develop new insights on racism and settlement within a transnational framework, to assist the communities in developing their own self-awareness and to break down negative stereotypes that the communities face.
Although widely described as problematic communities, Alan notes that within the context and challenges related to leaving war-torn countries and settling here in a time of high unemployment, the refugee-origin Central American and other Latin American communities in Canada are actually doing quite well and can be portrayed in a more positive light.
He is also beginning to pursue a program of research with others on remittances (money sent by immigrant and migrant workers to their home countries). Although still in the formative idea phase, the goal is to develop a program oriented towards three policy areas: lowering the costs of sending remittances, increasing the security of the funds sent to family members abroad, and investigating policy or institutional development that would increase the positive impact that remittances have for recipients.
Alan sees migration as an outcome of systemic process that cannot be separated from the origin and formation of nation states and control of borders. Migration stems from competition between nation states in the protection of national interests and is connected to the movement of capital and labour in a globalized world. Migration, he says, occurs “in response to both economic and social-cultural forces.” Putting constraints and controls on migration tends to disadvantage people who are already disadvantaged. Inequalities emerge when people are not allowed the opportunity to move to find better conditions.
The objective is to listen to what participants say, rather than imposing assumptions. I know who has found the balance between family, work and students.”
Currently Alan is continuing along a path of personal and institutional growth and change through the research described above and through the development of mixed-mode teaching materials. Developed and implemented in collaboration with others, mixed-mode teaching aims to encourage the acquisition of stronger analytical and problem solving skills.