Migration and Diasporas
Uncertainty has become a dominant trope, an ‘inevitable force’ (Cooper and Pratten 2014) in the subjective experience of contemporary life. Globalisation and technological advances create unprecedented economic opportunities for individuals and families worldwide but also render life uncertain, unpredictable, and even precarious for many others. The retraction of the state and its responsibility for social protection, the highly volatile global economy, the breakdown of old communities and networks as well as the emergence of new ones have injected a sense of angst into our daily lives, prompting us to re-assess our values and priorities and changing the ways we make sense of our social worlds. The sense of uncertainty is particularly pronounced in the context of migration, especially for men and women from lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder who are subject to increasingly restrictive migration regimes and exploitative labour markets.
This panel seeks to deepen our understanding of uncertainty in the context of Asian migration at both empirical and theoretical levels. The notion of uncertainty could be tackled as a conceptual lens for understanding Asian mobilities, a social condition that produces (im)mobility or changes its nature, a productive social resource that brings about new social landscapes and horizons, or a particular mode of action that has the potential to disrupt and distress migrant lives. The panel generates important comparative insights into the manifestation and production of uncertainty in all its diversity and complexity.