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Who goes? Who stays back? Seasonal migration and staying put among rural manual workers in Eastern India


  • Ben Rogaly

    (School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)


In Barddhaman District, West Bengal, India, large numbers of rice transplanters and harvesters are seasonal migrant workers, who are unable to make a living in their home areas. They often come from households where other members have stayed put. This paper illustrates the interdependence between those who move and those who stay. It also shows that structural factors, such as age, gender, class and ethnicity, though important, do not determine who migrates or who stays put in a particular season. Indeed, the paper raises questions about the very categories 'migrant' and 'person who stays put' in relation to seasonal migration. This is because such migration inevitably involves doing both; and because for some of those who move and stay for longer, lifeworlds are 'stretched' between places. Moreover, whether a person stays put or migrates varies over the life course. Ironically, perhaps, migration for arduous manual work away from home can be part of a struggle to be able to afford to stay put. © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Rogaly, 2003. "Who goes? Who stays back? Seasonal migration and staying put among rural manual workers in Eastern India," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 623-632.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:15:y:2003:i:5:p:623-632 DOI: 10.1002/jid.1020

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Uma Kothari, 2003. "Staying put and staying poor?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(5), pages 645-657.
    2. Ben Rogaly & Daniel Coppard & Abdur Safique & Kumar Rana & Amrita Sengupta & Jhuma Biswas, 2002. "Seasonal Migration and Welfare/Illfare in Eastern India: A Social Analysis," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(5), pages 89-114.
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    Cited by:

    1. Valerie Mueller & Abusaleh Shariff, 2011. "Preliminary Evidence On Internal Migration, Remittances, And Teen Schooling In India," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 207-217, April.

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