Migration and Diasporas
This roundtable will discuss the critical role migration and other forms of cross-border mobility play in conceptions of progress and aspirations for a better future in Asia. The discussion will pay attention to the ways in which visions of the future have shifted over time and what kinds of analyses of the past they rely on for achieving plausibility and legitimacy at different scales. Speakers are invited to think about migration and questions of the future in relation to (1) migration governance regimes and state brokerage, (2) developmental visions and aspirations for mobility, and (3) gender, sexuality and social reproduction of families.
A rich body of research, pioneered by some of the speakers, has explored the role of brokers and intermediaries and how they interact with broader “migration infrastructures”. The roundtable will reflect on visible and invisible infrastructures occupy in public imaginaries and debates, including in those around governmental regulation of international mobility, as some Asian states have taken on the role of large-scale brokerage of labor migration, while others view migration as detrimental to realizing developmental visions of progress.
Normative predictions about the relationship between migration and development have changed in the past few decades. Despite the focus of Asian developmental visions on manufacturing and information technology, agriculture continues to play central roles in livelihoods across Asia. How do migration and remittances change agrarian political economies, and people’s perspectives on land and agrarian labor, but also on national, regional, and global inequalities?
Finally, migration and mobility at individual and structural levels have been shown to be profoundly gendered. Here speakers consider how the social reproduction of families changes in relation to migration. How do gendered dynamics of migration interact in specific ways with divisions of labor? How are ideas of masculine and feminine labor transformed through migration, especially as female migrants find new ways of engaging them?
The roundtable will bring together scholars whose work has been seminal to this field of study as well as junior scholars who raise critical new questions and methodologies. Many of them work at the intersections of themes that have been developed in isolation. This roundtable will bring a range of speakers together to begin a dynamic conversation. Discussing these themes through comparisons and connections, we hope, will bear crucial insights for conceptualizations of the future in Asia.