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The World Social Forum on Migrations 2012: Consolidating efforts towards an equitable society

Shirlita Africa Espinosa

From the back alleys of Madrid to the financial capital of Singapore, the migration of peoples either to flee persecution or to pursue a high-stakes transnational job is a global phenomenon. One may even say that the one permanent presence these days is a temporary migrant. The mobility of workers—and the mobility that characterizes the social world in which they live—has always had an economic interpretation manifesting in the antagonism of locals against labor migrants. The issue of migration and the attendant discourses of citizenship, social cohesion, population, resource sharing, employment, criminality, and cultural differences, to mention a few, are a common specter often raised for political maneuvering. To use the migrant subject as a scapegoat for sundry social and economic ills of the “host” society—a term that perpetuates the stereotype of the migrant as parasitical, thus, creating a fitting formula for those who hold power—is integral to the production of their subjectivity as an unwanted sector of a society. Nevertheless, the centrality of migration today in the creation of wealth in advanced economies is very much tied to the role that migrants play in the development strategies of their own nations. Through the billions of dollars transferred through remi􀄴 ances, migration is regarded as the vehicle of development for countries in the South. But if exporting cheap and temporary labor remains inexpensive as it continues to support the growth of industrialized countries both in the manufacturing and service sectors, including the domestic and affective spheres of the home, then how does migration specifically drive the development of sending countries?

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