Transnational migration has become a distinctive aspect of globalization, manifesting the uneven and hierarchical relationships that inform it. The processes of uneven development set in motion with colonization continue to unfold with the integration of post-colonial societies into the world economy as dependent and subordinate partners. The nature, volume, and direction of migratory flows have closely corresponded with these patterns of uneven development.
This volume studies the new migratory flows among Asian women, focusing particularly on poverty and the attendant issues of powerlessness that mediate women's migration. While gender provides the conceptual tool for mapping differential experiences of social reality, by identifying poverty and migration as significant axes around which social relations and processes unfold, the volume unravels the complex layers of needs, networks and choices that come into play in poverty-driven migration. Collectively, the papers in this volume:
- Focus on structural and ideological factors forming the contexts of migration. In this framework, the issue of 'voluntariness' of migration is repeatedly interrogated
- Discuss those perspectives that give a determining role to economic structures, thereby reducing migration to a passive response
- Conceptualize women's migration not merely in terms of degradation (or improvement) in women's social marginality, but as a process of restructuring of gender relations
While the papers from Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines deal with international migration, those from Bangladesh and India discuss internal migration and the problems and compulsions therein. By bringing together experiences from various countries in the Asian region, both in terms of migration within the region and outward migration, the volume identifies patterns of similarity and differences within the macro-framework of the capitalist world economy and the changing patterns of labour relations. It will be of considerable interest to students and scholars in the fields of sociology, women's studies, migration studies and development studies as also to NGOs.