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Between Labor Migration and Forced Displacement

Wartime Mobilities in the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire Transnational Space

Jesper Bjarnesen

The significant number of involuntary returns of labor migrants to Burkina Faso is a relatively neglected aspect of the armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 500,000 and 1 million Burkinabe migrants were forced to leave Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2007, placing tremendous pressure on local communities in Burkina Faso to receive and integrate these mass arrivals, and causing those returning labor migrants an acute sense of displacement. Th is article analyzes the experiences of displacement and resettlement in the context of the Ivorian crisis and explores the dialectics of displacement and emplacement in the lives of involuntary labor migrant returnees; their young adult children; and Burkinabe recruits returning aft er their service in the Forces Nouvelles rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire.

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Kate McDonald

A major intervention of mobility studies has been to suggest a new framework for the writing of history. Recent studies of diasporic Indian Ocean communities and trans-Pacific labor migration have shown that mobility history can open the door to histories of mobile subjects rather than static nations and, in the process, lead the way toward a transmodal and transnational research agenda. This article considers what the history of mobility has to offer to the modern history of transport and social life in the Japanese archipelago, which has most often been used to tell the story of the development of the modern Japanese nation-state.

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Barbara Schmitter Heisler

The presence of sizable foreign-born populations (which include citizens

and non-citizens) in advanced industrial societies is the result of

national policies on immigration, refugees, and labor migration. The

consequences of these policies, however, are most visible at the local

level, where newcomers work, settle, and raise their families. While

not all immigrants live in cities, they have been particularly concentrated

in urban environments. Thus, it is hardly surprising that many

of the socioeconomic, cultural, and political issues and problems

associated with immigration and the process of immigrant settlement

are played out and magnified in cities.

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Single mothers in Osh

Well-being and coping strategies of women in the aftermath of the 2010 conflict in Kyrgyzstan

Aksana Ismailbekova

After the 2010 intercommunal violence in Kyrgyzstan, women in the city of Osh were exposed to many difficulties. Conflict eroded people's contentment, and satisfactory living conditions were supplanted by increased challenges—such as deteriorating health and education systems, declining communication and economic opportunities, and the loss of property. Men's deaths during the conflict and the increased labor migration of men after the conflict also resulted in increased numbers of single mothers. This article presents trends among women, examines their coping mechanisms, and explores the well-being of single mothers by considering what makes women's lives meaningful in a postconflict situation.

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Joshua Grace

Mobility is often mentioned in African history, but rarely is it examined to its full analytical potential. This is unfortunate, in part because in the 1960s the first generation of African historians considered cultures of mobility a means of challenging stereotypes of African backwardness and simplicity. Jan Vansina, for example, used mobility to uncover “complexity” and “efficiency” in African political history—a stated goal of early Africanist historians working to debunk colonial stereotypes—and to challenge the structural-functionalist lens through which colonials and outsiders had understood African identities and social systems. In the following decades, mobility was critical to several aspects of African history—including slavery, women’s history, labor migration, and urbanization. Yet the makings of a recognizable field of African mobility have not emerged until recently.

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Raúl Delgado Wise and Humberto Márquez Covarrubias

The relationship between migration and development is a topic of growing interest among international organizations. To varying degrees, those organizations see remittances as an essential tool in the development of migrant-sending, underdeveloped countries. We argue that this view, on which most pertinent public policies are based, misrepresents the notion of development and obscures the root causes of current labor migration. This limited and distorted perspective should be discarded, and the phenomenon should be analyzed in a comprehensive manner that includes strategic/structural, multi-dimensional, and multi-spatial approaches based on the political economy of development. This type of analysis should take into account the following interrelated dimensions: social agents, global context, regional integration, national environment, and local levels.

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Halil Can

Building on a long-term, multi-sited ethnographic research project, this article illustrates and interprets the transformation processes and empowerment strategies pursued by an originally Zazaki-speaking, multigenerational Alevi family in the Turkish-German transnational context. The family, which includes a number of Alevi priests (seyyid or dede), hails from the Dersim4 region of eastern Anatolia, and their family biography is closely bound up with a traumatic mass murder and crime against humanity that local people call “Dersim 38“ or “Tertele.“ Against the background of this tragedy, the family experienced internal migration (through forced remigration and settlement) thirty years before its labor migration to Germany. This family case study accordingly examines migration as a multi-faceted process with plural roots and routes. The migration of people from Turkey neither begins nor ends with labor migration to Germany. Instead, it involves the continuous, nonlinear, and multidirectional movement of human beings, despite national border regimes and politics. As a result, we can speak of migration processes that are at once voluntary and forced, internal and external, national and transnational. 5 In this particular case, the family members, even the pioneer generation labor migrants who have since become shuttle migrants, maintain close relationships with Dersim even as they spend most of their lives in a metropolitan German city. At the same time, they confront moments of everyday in- and exclusion in this transnational migration space that define them as both insiders and out- siders. Keeping these asymmetrical attributions in mind, I examine the family's sociocultural, religious, and political practices and resources from a transna- tional perspective, paying close attention to their conceptualization of identity and belonging as well as their empowerment strategies.

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Steve Kwok-Leung Chan

English abstract: Thailand is a popular destination for irregular labor migration from Myanmar. Among some three million Burmese migrant workers in Thailand, more than half are undocumented. Undocumented migrant workers rely on brokers to smuggle them into Thailand. Some undocumented migrant workers are lured, tricked, and forced to work but they are not rewarded with a reasonable wage. A conceptual framework of the shadow sector of labor migration is formulated in this study, which attempts to explain why ethnic minorities in Myanmar are socially categorized by the level of their deprived citizenship. Those low in the hierarchy of categorization are likely to fall into the shadow sector of the labor migration process. Ethnic minorities from areas of insurgency are exposed to a high risk of human trafficking.

Spanish abstract: Tailandia es un destino popular para la migración laboral irregular de Myanmar. Entre unos tres millones de trabajadores migrantes birmanos en Tailandia, más de la mitad son indocumentados. Los trabajadores migrantes indocumentados confían en intermediarios para pasar de contrabando a través de la frontera a Tailandia. En este estudio se formula un marco conceptual del sector paralelo de la migración laboral que trata de explicar por qué las minorías étnicas en Myanmar se clasifican socialmente por el nivel de su ciudadanía privada. Aquellos que se encuentran en la jerarquía de categorización baja probablemente caigan en el sector oscuro del proceso de migración laboral. Las minorías étnicas de las áreas de la insurgencia están expuestas a un alto riesgo de trata de personas.

French abstract: La migration irrégulière de main-d’oeuvre et la traite d’êtres humains sont des sujets récurrents des études migratoires, mais le sujet le plus traité jusqu’à présent concerne le mouvement Sud Nord. La Thaïlande, en tant qu’économie en développement de l’Asie du Sud-Est, est une destination prisée pour la migration de main-d’oeuvre irrégulière myanmaraise. Parmi les quelques trois millions de travailleurs migrants birmans en Thaïlande, plus de la moitié sont sans papiers. Les travailleurs migrants sans papiers comptent sur les intermédiaires pour passer clandestinement la frontière de la Thaïlande afin d’y rechercher un emploi. Certains travailleurs migrants sans papiers sont attirés, trompés et forcés à travailler sans la récompense d’un salaire raisonnable. Un cadre conceptuel du secteur parallèle de la migration de main-d’oeuvre est formulé dans cette étude qui tente d’expliquer pourquoi les minorités ethniques du Myanmar sont classées socialement par leur niveau de privation de citoyenneté. Ceux qui sont au bas de la hiérarchie de la catégorisation risquent de tomber dans le marché parallèle du processus de migration de main-d’oeuvre. Les minorités ethniques des zones de l’insurrection sont exposées à un risque élevé de traite d’êtres humains.

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Georg Menz

English abstract: European immigration policy making has often been characterized either as a largely spill-over driven process or as “venue shopping,” a way to escape from the confines of national capitals. This article suggests that success in policy creation hinges crucially on the presence of a policy entrepreneur; while the European Commission faced propitious conditions for acting in this fashion, it did not always manage to do so. Drawing on the creation of key directives on asylum and labor migration as empirical case studies, the argument is developed that only when the European Commission exhibits the core characteristics of successful policy entrepreneurs does it succeed in shaping migration directives.

Spanish abstract: La formulación de la política migratoria europea a menudo se ha caracterizado ya sea como un gran proceso conducido por el desborde (“spillover”), o como un lugar de escape (“venue shopping”) de los confines de capitales nacionales. Este artículo sugiere que el éxito en la creación de políticas se basa esencialmente en la presencia de un emprendedor político, y mientras que la Comisión Europea enfrenta condiciones propicias para actuar de esa manera, no siempre logra hacerlo. Sobre la base de la creación de directivas centrales sobre asilo y migración laboral como casos empíricos de estudio, el argumento se desarrolla cuando la Comisión Europea presenta las características esenciales de un emprendedor político y logra éxitos en la conformación de las directivas de migración.

French abstract: L'élaboration de la politique migratoire européenne a souvent été caractérisée comme un processus piloté par spillover ou encore comme « venue shopping » d'évasion aux confins des capitales nationales. Cet article suggère que le succès de l'élaboration d'une politique dépend crucialement de la présence d'un entrepreneur politique ; et que, bien que la Commission européenne ait eu des conditions favorables pour agir dans ce sens, elle ne l'a pas toujours fait. S'appuyant sur la création des directives clés en matière d'asile et de la circulation de la main-d'œuvre comme sur des études de cas empiriques, l'argument ici développé montre que ce n'est que lorsque la Commission européenne aura réuni avec succès les qualités de base relatives à l'entrepreneuriat politique qu'elle parviendra à modeler les directives européennes sur la migration.