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Introduction: Migrant Workers and Their Role in Rural Change


  • Arjan de Haan
  • Ben Rogaly


This introductory essay and collection concern the social processes within which migration for manual work is located and which are influenced by that same migration. Writing from detailed empirical studies of migration in South and South-east Asia and Africa, the contributors provide illustrations of the importance and normality of migration in rural life. The studies show that the relationship between migration and rural change is complex and context-specific. Migration has often increased inequality, but in many cases also supported vulnerable livelihoods. Much depends on the social processes at work, the ways in which identities shift through migration and how gendered ideologies of work are deployed and change. Labour mobility usually serves the interests of capital, not only in ensuring labour supply, but also, often, in dividing workers; however, the power of capital relative to labour is contingent. We conclude this essay by exploring ways in which public policies can support migrants by making migration less costly and more secure, by reducing discrimination and enhancing access to health care and other services.

Suggested Citation

  • Arjan de Haan & Ben Rogaly, 2002. "Introduction: Migrant Workers and Their Role in Rural Change," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:38:y:2002:i:5:p:1-14
    DOI: 10.1080/00220380412331322481

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    Cited by:

    1. Coast, Ernestina, 2006. "Local understandings of, and responses to, HIV: Rural-urban migrants in Tanzania," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 1000-1010, August.
    2. Haggblade, Steven & Hazell, Peter & Reardon, Thomas, 2010. "The Rural Non-farm Economy: Prospects for Growth and Poverty Reduction," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 1429-1441, October.
    3. Amita Shah & Baidyanath Guru, 2006. "Poverty in Remote Rural Areas in India: A Review of Evidence and Issues," Working Papers id:713, eSocialSciences.
    4. Gray, Clark L., 2009. "Environment, Land, and Rural Out-migration in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 457-468, February.
    5. N.C. Saxena & Tim Conway & Cecilia Luttrell & Edward Anderson & John Farrington & Gerard Gill, 2016. "Food Security and the Millennium Development Goal on Hunger in Asia," Working Papers id:11094, eSocialSciences.


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