Gender and Migration: (Re)Conceptualizing The Inter-Asian Labour Mobility in The Age of Global Migration 1846-1940

Proceedings of ‏The Global Conference on Women’s Studies

Year: 2020


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Gender and Migration: (Re)Conceptualizing The Inter-Asian Labour Mobility in The Age of Global Migration 1846-1940

Sagarika Naik



The impeccable scholarly engagement advocates that in many ways Indian Ocean rim was characterized as a specialized flow of labour and capital, at the same time the Intra-Asian (South/South-east Asian, north-east Asian) labour migration networks not only expanded the Empire’s territorial construction but also played an essential role in the foundation of global capitalism around the world.  While the Intra-Asian labour mobility has emerged as a vital part of the development of the global economy, the existing literature slow to register the gendered dimension of the migration. Using the trans-epochal perspectives, I have elucidated that, the global migration system created spaces that have neglected the gendered character of the migration process. By using these formulations this paper is an outcome of three interrelated propositions. In the first place this paper challenging the predominant discourse in migration studies which are

‘gender-blind’ or, perhaps it even worse, have assumed perceptions like ‘men migrate and women stay behind’. Second, it aims to re-visit the abstract nature of colonial labour migration networks and their experiences using gendered lenses of investigation. It also trying to revealing connections between gender, colonial policies relating to labour migration, the importance of various ‘spaces’ within migrant labour communities, and the construction of insidious stereotypes regarding migrant labour communities. At the last, it creates a dialogue between colonial pasts shared by Asian societies and investigates how colonial legacies continue to influence contemporary trends of labour mobility and labour experiences. In addition to that, the paper envisions a worthwhile contribution to the burgeoning field of inter-Asian studies situate gender as a dominant category and trying to (re)conceptualize the global migration flow with a non-Eurocentric perspective.

Keywords: Global Migration, Inter-Asian, Trans epochal, South Asia, Indian Ocean.