Urban ethnic enclaves and migration industries: The urban choices of mobile people

Hila Zaban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


When migrants come in large numbers, they tend to segregate in enclaves where they lead a familiar lifestyle alongside people who can provide a support system. But how do these enclaves come about? This paper engages with migration industries literature, saying that it is ‘the labour involved in managing, facilitating and controlling migration’ that makes it an industry. Relying on the case of privileged Jewish migration to Israel, I argue that while the state remains central in facilitating and controlling migration, migration industries and migrants’ social networks dictate in which urban areas privileged migrants settle, creating unequal urban geographies. To illustrate this, I rely on qualitative data gathered in two research projects I completed in Israel over the past decade, in various Israeli cities relating to migrants and second-home owners from Western countries. I look at how and why people decide where to settle upon migrating and the role of various migration industries actors in their choices. I argue that what seems like individual decision-making is in fact a ‘structured agency’, repeating patterns of the imagined urban geographies produced by agents of migration and various urban stakeholders. The result is unequal patterns of location and consumption, where privileged migrants locate in urban enclaves, distancing themselves from other groups and causing gentrification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2255-2275
Number of pages21
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • ethnic enclaves
  • migration industries
  • privileged migration
  • structured agency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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