Introduction: Migrant Workers and Their Role in Rural Change
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.
Volume (Year): 38 (2002)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
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