The term uprooting is used in the field of sociology to refer to those people who leave their place of origin to settle in a new place . In this way, these individuals are compared to trees that have been uprooted from one land to be planted in another. Situations of exile, migration, and displacement are usually related to the phenomenon of uprooting .

What is uprooting?

It is a state lived by those who abandon their environment and lose the ties that bind them to their own roots . In other words, it is the loss of references that allow a person to find their place within an environment either by birth or by their family history. This situation is common in countries that have received large waves of migration .

  • What is uprooting?
  • Types of uprooting
  • Causes
  • Consequences
  • Examples of uprooting

What is uprooting?

Uprooting consists of the loss of the ties that unite the individual with their social, family, cultural or even work environment . This phenomenon brings repercussions on an emotional and social level.


Types of uprooting

  • Social uprooting  this type of uprooting is related to the marginalization and social isolation of an individual . For example, some immigrants often experience this type of uprooting due to the social ties of family and friends they have left behind. For this reason, something very frequent that happens is that immigrants seek to interact with other immigrants of the same nationality. In addition, in this way, they can better cope with possible problems of discrimination in the new society to which they must be integrated.
  • Cultural uprooting:  this takes place when the individual experiences a great cultural change that causes him to lose his cultural roots . This also happens when the individual’s cultural system is destroyed by others. This is a very frequent case in indigenous communities in different parts of the world that face the invasion of a more dominant community, which generates social conflicts.
  • Family uprooting  this type of uprooting can occur for various reasons. For example, when there is an absence of both parents due to various reasons : death, work trips or when there is a separation within the family nucleus .
  • Job uprooting : job  uprooting occurs when an individual stops exercising at their current workplace to go to work elsewhere . Sometimes the individual is forced to do this in search of better salary conditions. In other cases, the individual performs his job duties normally and is changed to another job by his superiors.


  • The expropriation of land and resources from indigenous or colonized communities.
  • The violation of human rights can be a trigger for the search for asylum.
  • Gender violence
  • The destruction of a natural environment, deforestation, desertification can be factors that motivate human displacement.
  • The search for new horizons and job opportunities.
  • The migration due to armed conflicts such as war or terrorism.
  • Severe collapse of the economic system and social conditions in a community or in a country.
  • The growing inequality at the economic level within and between countries.
  • Forced exodus.
  • Political exile.


  • Family disorganization: households with an unusual social composition.
  • Single parent families.
  • High divorce rates.
  • Distancing and alienation: family support, parental ties, and friendships are often broken. However, the individual this feeling can improve when the individual re-socializes in the community to which he arrives.
  • Feelings of insecurity, helplessness, or apathy.
  • Feeling of mourning for the loss of the roots of the place of origin and the emotional support that was enjoyed there.
  • Exaggerated nostalgia.
  • In some cases, an alcohol dependence can be triggered.
  • Symptoms of depression.
  • In the case of cultural uprooting, this can cause loss of meaning and direction in the life of the individual who suffers from it.
  • In the case of indigenous people, the loss of land can mean the loss of economic and cultural power as well as of spiritual identity.

Examples of uprooting

The diaspora of Venezuelans

Thousands of Venezuelans seek a better quality of life in other countries due to the social, economic and political situation that the country is currently experiencing under the government of Nicolás Maduro. The hyperinflation , insecurity, political persecution, lack of medicines and some basic necessities have forced Venezuelans to seek better opportunities abroad, which must adapt to new customs of the country they arrive in many occasions, away from their relatives .

Expropriation of indigenous lands

In Bolivia, during the 19th century, the government implemented legal reforms that ended the community property of indigenous communities . In this way, indigenous lands were expropriated for the benefit of the Bolivian latifundio . This has had a negative impact on the culture, the traditions, and the families of the indigenous peoples. This is a phenomenon that has occurred in other Latin American countries such as Chile or Argentina . The governments expropriate the land from the indigenous people and send them to a different place. But these communities are deeply rooted in their land.

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