Arthur, John A.: "Class Formation and Inequality Structures in Contemporary African Migration: Evidence from Ghana."(Book review)

Author:Nti, Kwaku
 
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Arthur, John A. Class Formation and Inequality Structures in Contemporary African Migration: Evidence from Ghana. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014.

In Class Formation and Inequality Structures in Contemporary African Migration: Evidence from Ghana, John A. Arthur attempts to insert class and inequality narratives into post-colonial African migration and Diaspora scholarship using Ghanaian experiences. He looks at how the class dynamic plays out in the countries of origination and also in the various destinations or host countries. The book is an interesting one; and as the author himself indicates, it is one that will "hopefully open up a discussion and illuminate the inter-connections between African class structures, social inequalities, and migration" (p. xi). Grounding his thesis in the assertions of Bahr et al. (2002), Arthur argues that "South-North migration is principally driven by the concept of inequality in varied forms, especially the disparate distribution of goods and services, or lack of access to structural opportunities" (p. xi).

In the book, which has seven chapters, the author asserts that although a good number of books deal with the sociological and non-sociological factors involved in defining the nature, content, and outcomes of African migration, none devotes attention to how post-colonial class and constructions have been influential. Arthur's discussion of various theories and general data pertaining to migration is impressive; the book is equally very strong on what Arthur refers to as the layers of social class formations in Ghana pointing out that decades of planned and unplanned biases in the distribution of economic and cultural opportunities have created permanent social, cultural, and economic disparities among regions impacting social mobility widening and aggravating nascent social class differentials in the country. The author proffers quite a brilliant description of the lives of immigrant Ghanaian underclass and professionals in the United States.

Arthur's anticipation of his work "opening up discussions" will certainly be met. Although he does not fully discuss the element of class intricacies and nuances in Africa, he makes several passing references to that effect. For instance, he states that "my attempt to bring a sociological praxis to unravel the relationship between class and migration was made even more difficult by the intricate systems of class structures operating simultaneously in variegated forms...

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