Sociology professor Filiz Garip wins Komarovsky Best Book Award

Filiz Garip, professor of sociology, was awarded the Mirra Komarovsky Best Book Award for her work, “On the Move: Changing Mechanisms of Mexico-US Migration.” The award, given by the Eastern Sociological Society, honors the memory of Mirra Komarovsky, a pioneer in the sociology of gender.

“I am truly honored to receive this award,” Garip said, “which recognizes a book that shows the diversity of Mexican migrants at a time when stereotypes are invoked more frequently than ever.”

Garip’s book analyzes the evolving patterns in migration from Mexico to the U.S. in the last century. Combining survey data from 145,000 people from 1965 to 2010 with interviews from 140 Mexican families, her text shows the diverse reasons that have mobilized people to migrate. She identifies four main groups of migrants with specific characteristics, from the male-dominated migration from rural areas in the 1960s and '70s to the generation of more educated, urban migrants in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

“I conclude that policies that treat migrants as a homogenous group will continue to fail as different drivers are at work at different times or for different groups in the population,” Garip said. “I argue that it is crucial for social scientists to divert their attention to the heterogeneity in the population and the plurality in potential explanations, rather than to follow the usual approach of pitting different theories against one another to see which one best accounts for the average case.”

Garip says she intended the book to “contribute to the understanding of Mexico-U.S. flows, to inform future immigration policy and to help us rethink the epistemological foundations of social science research.”

Garip’s research primarily focuses on migration, economic sociology and inequality. She studies the mechanisms that enable or constrain mobility and affect social and economic inequality.

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