Within the inter-disciplinary field of migration studies, the division between internal and international migration research and theory has persisted over the past three decades, despite increasing calls to bring these two bodies of literature into engaged scholarly conversation with one another. It is undeniable that a distinction between internal and international migration is important in a world in which national sovereignty is determined both by a state’s ability to determine who might enter and leave, as well as by the ability to enact and enforce the laws that regulate those within its geographic boundaries. Nevertheless, the internal/international division within migration studies is a problematic one, given the highly varied kinds of migration that take place within each of these categories. For example, an internal migrant in China may move thousands of kilometers from a northern village to work in a factory in one of the country’s prosperous southern provinces, while a Shan highlander may move only a short distance across the unmarked Thai-Myanmar border to become an international migrant and refugee in Thailand. Furthermore, internal and international migration, like other migration categories, are linked through complex chains of political, economic, social and cultural processes that shape migration and the experiences of migrants.
Given this complexity and the growing importance of migration in the contemporary world, this conference will provide an important forum for bridging the persistent academic “gap” between these two migration literatures and for working towards more nuanced and theoretically rich research of migration that crosses disciplinary and categorical boundaries. The primary aim of this workshop is to provide an important intellectual space for scholars working on internal and international migration in the region to come together to exchange knowledge, share research findings, explore theoretical points of convergence and divergence within migration studies, and to map possible pathways for future collaboration. Participants will work together in a workshop setting order to:
• Critically interrogate the conceptual divide between internal and international migration through a close investigation of both “macro” processes and “micro” decisions that drive and shape migration within and across national boundaries.
• Identify and develop “nodes” of theoretical convergence where internal and international migration can be linked, compared, and conceptualized as part of larger political-economic processes, particularly in discussions of the relationship between migration and development.
• Promote collaborative exchange, research and writing between scholars working on issues of internal and international migration in Asia by fostering innovative methodological and conceptual approaches to bridge the internal/international migration divide.
• Carefully map out the changing, contradictory and still crucial role of the nation-state in contemporary migration of all kinds, in order to create a more nuanced picture of the ongoing relevance and power of the state (and the limits to state power) in shaping migration in Asia in the current “age of migration.”
We encourage submissions from scholars and researchers working in all aspects of migration research; participants may focus primarily in either international or internal migration, but should have a strong interest in exploring the empirical and theoretical linkages between these two areas while at the conference. Papers from scholars in the region, particularly from China, South Asia and Southeast Asia, are especially welcome.
Among other topics, we are actively seeking papers that address one or more of the following four themes:
1) Underlying Political-Economic Drivers of Internal and International Migration across the Region and World-Wide
Within this theme, we seek contributions on the role of structural political-economic processes operating at and through different spatial scales in “driving” both internal and international migration and in identifying the linkages between them (for example: uneven development, internal displacement and landlessness, national development policies designed to encourage/discourage migration, political turmoil, and regional and global financial crises over the past several decades).
2) Empirical Linkages between Different Groups of Migrants and between Different “Waves” of Migration, Both Within and Between Countries
Participants presenting within this theme will have an opportunity to engage directly with other scholars researching different types of migration in different locations and to explore the intersections, parallels and divergences of migrants’ decision-making processes, migration across the life-cycle, and migrant household strategies. Such an engagement could strengthen theories of migration decision making (for example: whether to migrate internally or internationally, or which household members should migrate and when). Scholars investigating direct and indirect linkages between internal and international migrants, whether through processes of chain migration or “knock on” effects are particularly encouraged to participate under this theme.
3) The Increasingly Complex Role of the State and of National Borders in Contemporary Global Migration
How is the role of the state changing – within borders, at borders, and across borders - in contemporary migration? Papers within this theme will investigate and complicates the role of national borders in migration studies through an examination of the theoretical linkages, parallels and divergences in considerations of citizenship, identity, integration and rights for international and internal migrants.
4) The Need for Critical Evaluation of “Migration and Development” Programs and Policies in Both National and International Settings
The so-called “Migration and Development Nexus” is a major theme in both internal and international development research and policy. This conference will provide an opportunity to critically evaluate the ongoing linkage of migration and development in international development policy and scholarship by utilizing empirical data and current research in two key areas that cross-cut internal and international migration, namely: (a) economic remittances and economic development impacts, and (b) social remittances, social costs, and the global “care crisis.”
SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS
Academics, researchers, policy-makers and graduate students are encouraged to submit paper proposals to the conference. Proposals should include a title, an abstract (300 words max.) and a short bio-note of the author(s) (200 words). Please submit and address all applications and enquiries to Dr Maureen Helen Hickey (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Dr Melody Lu Chia-Wen (email@example.com) by 31 May 2011. Please visit our website for the Paper Proposal Submission Form. Partial funding will be available for some presenters, particularly from within the region, depending on need and the availability of funds.
Successful applicants will be notified by 30 June 2011 and will be required to send in a completed paper (5,000-6,000 words) by 20 September 2011. Selected papers will be developed and included in an edited journal issue or book.
Prof Brenda Yeoh
Head of Migration Research Cluster, Asia Research Institute, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences,
Professor, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore
Dr Maureen Hickey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Migration Research Cluster, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
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