From Africa to the Entire Planet Genetic maps show human migration patterns from Africa to Asia, Australia, and finally to Europe and the Americas.
How Do Humans Decide? Thoughtful Planning or Instinct? Ecological Constraints –Opportunity/Survival Societal Process –Political/Economic Realities Emotional Process in the Family –Intensity and reactivity
The View from Bowen Theory Bowen Theory offers a view of automatic emotional (instinctual) behavior that humans have in common with other mammals. Study of other animals automatic behavior can lead to better understanding of ourselves. The study of individual family systems provides a microcosm to study individual variation in migration. Individual variation is one key to understanding adaptation to migration.
The Nature of Migration Common in mammals, including humans. Functions to benefit survival and reproduction. Responsive to instinctual (emotional) forces in society and family. Has costs and benefits to individuals, families, and societies. Facts may help reduce cost and increase the benefits to society and families.
What Are the Rules for Migration? Characteristic of Species Natal Migration Leave place of birth generally before adulthood. Seasonal Migration Move seasonally with resources. Nomadic Migration Not circular but related to resources. All are possible in humans, but seasonal and natal migration are most common.
When Migrate Population pressures, environmental degradation, and political situations Often lead to forced migrations.
Survival and Reproduction “From an evolutionary perspective, all of the meanings of ‘migration’ reflect ecological influences of better or worse conditions for individual survival and reproduction.” (Clarke and Low, 2001) From a Bowen theory perspective, migration may also reflect emotional cutoff and family emotional process.
When Migrate “The main characteristic of migrants is that they go to a foreign country to work.” Formerly more seasonal (International Federation of Social Workers; Policy on Migration, 10/2005)
Who Migrates? Environmental Refuges Drought in interior Mexico often requires leaving “home” for survival.
Observations from the US/Mexico Border Observe the impact of Social/Political Processes Environmental challenges Economic necessity Interacting with Family Emotional Process
Where Migrate: Humans and Other Mammals Manageable distance e.g. Zimbabwe to South Africa Connection with stable community e.g. Iraq to Syria, Jordan if possible Reasonable safety Resource availability Opportunities for reproduction Connection with related individuals
Resources and Individual Variability Oakham, MA 1750-1850 Sons dispersal was partly related to resources acquired from fathers. More sons dispersed than predicted. Daughters of low-status fathers were more likely to disperse. Individual variability difficult to explain simply related to resource availability. (Towner, Mary, in Human Nature, 2001)
Family Emotional Process: Bowen Theory Perspective
Individual Variability (In Humans and Other Animals) Observe the Impact of Emotional Process or Instinct as described in Bowen Theory Sibling Position (Functional Position) Triangles (Alliances or Competition) Conflict or Aggression Severe Disturbance in a System Emotional Cutoff (Animals/Extrusion) Level of Differentiation (Competence)
Functional Position in Troop Species rules - female dispersal in chimpanzees is usual but not universal. An unusually effective chimp female remains in troop and does not emigrate. (Goodall) –Fifi is daughter of high ranking Flo and does not leave natal territory.
Sibling Position (Humans) Well known situation in Ireland for generations when oldest male retained property and others forced to leave. Oldest female leaving distressed area to find work at the US/Mexico border. Youngest female in central Mexico migrated to border after extrusion from group. (triangles)
Functional Position in Group Species rule; male dispersal is usual in spotted hyenas. Females may emigrate as a result of competition or aggression among females. In that case, the least dominant must leave.
Triangles: Alliances and Competition Viable alliances in humans and other species allow some to stay while others are excluded. A baboon female who is able to command respect and form alliances (triangles) is more secure in the group and adds to the male’s position.
Triangles: Alliances and/or Competition Land deterioration and overuse by logging created serious economic problems for these indigenous people. Outside position in triangle with her brothers who worked the land. Emigrated alone at age 18 to Cd. Juarez and found more stability than was available for her in her place of origin.
Triangles and/or Competition Stable family group in central Mexico. Brothers react to sister’s spouse Sister and spouse move to Cd. Juarez and less stability.
Conflict and Aggression Conflict is often in the service of defining rank, and access to resources, and reproduction. Aggression in a group can lead to cutoff, extrusion and/or deadly aggression between groups. (Goodall, 1986)
Conflict in the FAMILY –Brothers conflict over inheritance. Jacob/Esau –Sisters conflict over mate. Youngest leaves family group with infant. Migration results from family conflict.
Severe Disruption in Family/Society Death in Mexican Revolution Family “Guilt” and Reactivity Sudden deaths in one branch. Illness, deaths, and conflict in this branch. Surviving Unit migrates with permanent cutoff.
Severe Disturbance of System High level of stress or trauma can precede separation of groups in which cutoff continues through generations “Elephant Memories” by Cynthia Moss.
Level of Individual Competence or Maturity? Rhesus Macaques males generally disperse as adolescents, and it is a risky business for most. –The “wiser” or more timid males stay home with mom longer and emigrate later, grow stronger, when they are apparently more capable of survival.
Competence/Level of Differentiation Higher level of maturity or differentiation will result in more thoughtful decisions regarding migration.
So WHAT? Complex picture of “predictable” automatic emotional processes when trying to evaluate migration in humans and other species. There are costs and benefits to each of the decisions possible at all levels. Basic emotional processes (essentially family process) in humans and other species appear to interact with factors in the social and ecological environment to impact the “decisions” of individuals who leave and those who stay.
Migration “Decisions” Migrate or Not Family Process Environment Societal Process
Survival risks more obvious when home territory is extremely poor. Stable new community may enhance life with better resources
Costs and Benefits Risks in migration crossing the desert in Mexico or US. Rhesus Macaques males risk is about 50% survival during migration. What makes it worth the risks?
Costs and Benefits Expanding horizons by migration for indigenous group threatened by over- logging and drought. Forming a sewing cooperative, finding opportunities as business What about their offspring?
Types of Migration and Results Societal Disruption and Anxiety Dramatic Cutoff Remnant of Family Intense Family Process and Triangles Emotional Cutoff Remnant of Family Thoughtful Planning and Thinking Migration with Connections Family Connections to Past and Future
Costs and Benefits to Resident Community Resident community may experience higher level of stress if aggressive individuals enter troop. Conflict or extrusion from established community may rarely result. Under what conditions does conflict erupt? Look at overall anxiety in society and social group.
Costs and Benefits Amboseli research Remaining in natal group with inbreeding risks for reproduction OR migrating with survival risks and reproductive benefits. How do individuals make the decision?
Benefits of Migration from our Distant Past DNA studies demonstrate higher resistance to disease when there is more diversity from influx in migrations over long human history. Isolated populations are more disease prone. (Scientific American July 2008)
Interacting Processes in Migration Societal Disruption Family Emotional Process Environmental Conditions
What is the Mix of Loss and Gain with Migration and Cutoff? Emotional cutoff leaves branches of a family less integrated and more dependent on each other for support and survival. Emotional process in family continues in the present without understanding the facts of life that have gone before. New challenges/opportunities arise for immigrant and the community that might not have been present.
What did they gain and lose? Gain Broader life experience Adaptability Resilience Genetic variability Lose Cutoff from history and traditions Support of a larger group. Contact with own heritage and family.
Migration with Emotional Cutoff Loss of History and Available Kin Increased Dependence on Fewer Kin Increased Tension and Symptoms in Family Group
Health Paradox in Migration First generation is healthier than local population. Second and third generation post immigration has health equal to receiving community.
Migration as Adaptation to Changing Environment
Life in a Changing Environment Baboon’s response to environmental and social changes since 1960’s Flexible adaptation to new social and environmental realities. Can humans do as well?
Adaptation of Existing Populations to Immigration is Possible Population of Papio. anubis (Olive Baboon) moving from near Kilimanjaro into Amboseli study population with pressure from environment and human population Increased baboon hybridization without disruption of group.
Hints at Adaptation in a Species Migration as adaptation and survival. (Bobbi Low) Adaptation to climate changes in baboon population. (Alberts) Extended family as adaptation and survival. (Steve Emlen)
More Questions: Migration as Adaptation to Life Climate Change Refugees As global warming tightens the availability of water, prepare for a torrent of forced migrations. Jeffrey D. Sachs (Earth Institute) (20 million in 2005 to 50 million by 2010) National Geographic News
Migration as Adaptation to Life? What are the limits of adaptability of a species to environmental and social changes? (baboon research.) How important is the extended family structure that remains connected through demanding times? (Steve Emlen) Is migration a “fall- back position” to increase adaptability? How can receiving communities adapt?
Possibilities for Homo Sapiens “Differentiation of self” promotes thinking in the midst of emotional challenges. Study the unknown limits of adaptability or flexibility in humans and other species. Study the unknown limits of density in humans and other species. Discover a way to think and act that allows humans to engage social integration at new levels of density. (Calhoun)
Tools for Adaptation in Migration Observe Family and Cutoff Study Family Process Define Self in Present Connect to Past “Find” Cutoff Family Connect to Facts
Opportunities to Study An indigenous group in a completely new environment. Explores the importance of the human’s connection to extended family and history.
Ongoing Learning in Bowen Theory Relearn ways to connect to family and community and develop more responsibility for self. Centro Sta. Catalina, Cd. Juarez
First Steps in making use of Bowen Theory Recognize relationship connections that have been lost due to violence, migration, and cutoff.
Adaptation of Families in Migration Learn about family history and family emotional process. Integrate a new vision of one’s life with new knowledge and facts. Work toward being more of a “solid self” and more connected to larger family. Engage in community as a “solid self” and member of the larger group.
Summary The study of natural systems, evolutionary thinking and Bowen theory allow a broader and deeper view of the challenges in migration. The broader understanding of migration includes the world wide challenges in the environment and societal functioning. The deeper understanding includes the family emotional process that always accompanies migration.
Bibliography Alberts, S.C. and Altmann J., 2006 “The Evolutionary Past and the Research Future: Environmental variation and life history flexibility in a primate lineage.” In Reproduction and Fitness in Baboons: Behavioral, Ecological, and Life History Perspectives. Springer Altmann, J. and Alberts, S.C. 2003, “Intraspecific Variability in Fertility and Offspring Survival in a Nonhuman Primate: Behavioral Control of Ecological and Social Sources” Chapter 6 pp 140-169 In Wachter, K.W. and Bulatos, R.A. (eds.) Offspring: The Biogeography of Fertility and Family Structure. National Academy Press, Washington, DC. Alberts, S.C. and Altmann J., “Immigration and hybridization patterns of yellow and anubis baboons in and around Amboseli, Kenya” American Journal of Primatology, 53: 139-154, 2001. Alberts, S.C. and Altmann J., “Balancing Costs and Opportunities: Dispersal in Male Baboons” in American Naturalist, Vol. 145, No 2, February, 1995. Alberts, S.C., Sapolsky, R.M. and Altmann, J. (1992) Behavioral, endocrine, and immunological correlates of immigration by an aggressive male into a natural primate group. Hormones and Behavior 26: 167-178 Clarke, A. L. & Low, B. (2001) Testing evolutionary hypotheses with demographic data. Population and Development Review, 27,(4), 663-666 Clarke, A.L. & Low, B. (1992) Ecological correlates of human dispersal in 19 th century Sweden. Animal Behavior, 44, 677-693 Low, Bobbi. "Whither thou goest: an evolutionary perspective on migration." In Cultural psychology of immigrants edited by Mahalingam, Ram. Mahwah, N.J. : Lawrence Erlbaum. 2006. Suomi, S. J. (2001) “Individual variation in primate social groups.” A Conference Presented at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX March 31, 2001 Towner, Mary C. “Linking Dispersal and Resources in Humans.” in Human Nature, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2001.
Additional Resources http://www.princeton.edu/~baboon/change.html www.ornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/ elsi/humanmigration.shtmlornl.gov/sci/techresources/Human_Genome/ elsi/humanmigration.shtml (Human Migration at Human Genome Project) www.genomics.energy.govwww.genomics.energy.gov “Human Genome Project Information” (Human Migration)
Life in a Changing Environment Our behavioral data indicate that environmental change in Amboseli has profoundly influenced the time budgets, social lives, diet, and habitat use of baboons. During periods of woodland die-off, baboons experienced both low fertility and high infant mortality . They also devoted nearly 80% of daylight hours to foraging and dramatically reduced their social time, in spite of both theoretical and empirical evidence indicating that they attempt (and often succeed in) conserving social time as a means of servicing their crucial social relationships . A widely accepted and influential model of baboon ecology predicted that social groups will lose cohesion and either fission or go extinct under extreme environmental stress [Dunbar 1992], our data do not support this model. Rather, the baboons modified their diet by increasing the diversity of food items; they also moved to completely new home ranges in areas of Amboseli with intact woodland. Survival and fertility increased following these behavioral changes [159, 167]. We are currently working to delineate behavioral, physiological, and demographic responses by the Amboseli baboons to the extensive environmental change they have experienced. We aim to gather detailed information on how environmental change affects fitness components and related traits. We also aim to elucidate how different individuals are differentially affected by, and respond to, environmental change. Baboons exhibit substantial interindividual variation in behavior, and our focus on individual differences will provide important insight into traits that confer an adaptive advantage in the face of environmental change.159167159167 http://www.princeton.edu/~baboon/change.html
Flexibility in Human Functioning “Environmental refugees will in turn spark political violence in receiving areas, and countries in the “global North” will erect ever higher barriers to keep culturally unwelcome—and hungry—foreigners out.” “The number of failed states, meanwhile, will increase as governments collapse in the face of resource wars and weakened state capabilities, and transnational terrorists and criminal networks will move in. International wars over depleted water and energy supplies will also intensify. The basic need for survival will supplant nationalism, religion, or ideology as the fundamental root of conflict.” Dire scenarios like these may sound convincing, but they are misleading. Even worse, they are irresponsible, for they shift liability for wars and human rights abuses away from oppressive, corrupt governments. Additionally, focusing on climate change as a security threat that requires a military response diverts attention away from prudent adaptation mechanisms and new technologies that can prevent the worst catastrophes. Idean Salehyan is assistant professor of political science at the University of North Texas and coauthor of “Climate Change and Conflict: The Migration Link,” published by the International Peace Academy in New York.