ABSTRACT

In migration studies, one of the more thoroughly investigated research questions raised since the 1950s is whether international migration brings about development in the emigrant countries in the global South. The nexus between migration and development has been meticulously debated over time, producing substantial literature on the topic (for a review, see Papademetriou and Martin 1991; Hammar et al. 1997; Sørensen et al. 2002; Spaan et al. 2005; Omelaniuk 2012; Faist 2000). However, researchers are still grappling to find a unanimous position to this question. This is because migration is a dynamic field, with the patterns, composition, size and nature of international migration constantly changing. This transforms migration into a more difficult research terrain that demands new conceptual approaches and research methods to explicate its complexities in their entirety. What is interesting about the study of this nexus is that with the changes in international migration, new theoretical approaches and research methodologies have also been applied to explain the nature of the relationship between migration and development. The study of this nexus therefore remains a field of continuous academic exercise. It is precisely this dynamic attribute that provides the much-needed rationale for this volume. People tend to migrate to relatively developed economies, where they generally acquire an economic ascendance that they would be unable to achieve in their home countries. This advantage of access to comparatively developed economies allows the influence of migrants to reach deeper into their origin societies in different ways, affecting the social, economic and political dimensions of the society. Drawing on the experiences of global South Asians, this volume primarily documents the impact of migration on the social, economic and political fields in the broader context of development. This volume also presents a regional experience by looking into the migration-development nexus in the context of South Asia – a region that has over 50 million migrants living outside the region (Tan and Rahman 2013). In addition, this volume also goes beyond reporting the impacts of migration on economic development (remittanceinduced), by highlighting the implications of ‘social development’ on society. Social development relates to the broader development processes that encompass the increase in incomes, accumulation of non-material assets including physical health, education and skills, and institutional aspect of development that allows

individuals to translate their economic and human assets into personal welfare (Piper 2011; Van Naerssen et al. 2007; Sørensen 2012; Raghuram 2009; Faist 2008; Dannecker 2009; De Haas 2007). Thus, within the broad canvas of the social development approach, there remains room for both economic and social dimensions of development. This volume looks at the impact of international migration as a process, and views migration-led changes at the levels of the household, community and region in terms of a development process. The power of international migration in inducing development in an origin country or region depends on three main factors: (i) the numbers involved; (ii) the duration of the movement; and (iii) class composition. South Asian countries are particularly relevant for documenting the migration-induced changes in society because the above-mentioned factors are remarkably present in the case of South Asian migrants and diaspora groups. The global South Asian migrants number over 50 million strong. They comprise both earlier settler emigrants and contemporary migrants (skilled/unskilled, temporary/permanent migration), and possess diverse social (caste, religion, lingual, regional and so on) and economic backgrounds (class). In addition to the factors mentioned above, many South Asian emigrants proactively maintain strong social, economic and cultural connections to their countries of origin in South Asia, while others vie for political rights such as dual citizenship and the right to vote. Thus, the effects of international migration are diverse: they often initiate micro-processes of change that affect individuals and their intimate families, meso-processes involving communities and regions, and macro-processes impacting full society. This volume therefore attempts to address migration-induced changes at the micro-, mesoand macro-levels by documenting case studies of various South Asian migrant groups living in different parts of the world, both as settlers and sojourners. This book takes an interdisciplinary approach by focusing on permanent immigrants and contemporary sojourner migrants of South Asian origin. The chapters are contributed by a group of scholars who hail from different disciplinary backgrounds such as sociology, anthropology, political science, international relations, and economics. This book is therefore broad in scope in terms of contents, the timeline of migration, and its geographical coverage. Another strength of the volume lies in its empirically-based case studies involving India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal, and their emigrants living and working in the different parts of the world. The chapters in this volume not only examine the implications of migration on development, but also critically scrutinise the reliance on migration and migrant remittances as a development strategy in South Asia. Authors also discuss the contradictions that exist in the assumptions made in migration and development policies about structural conditions in South Asia that stand as barriers to development in the region. By first embracing South Asian migrants who participate in both South-North and South-South migration, and second acknowledging the different human capital they possess and the different time periods these migrations take place in, this book provides us a lens with which we are enabled to take a broader view of international migration. ‘Development’ is approached from the social

development perspective, which relates it to broader processes of development that encompass a holistic spectrum. This includes the increase in incomes and the accumulation of non-material assets including physical health, education, skill formation and transfers, political participation and female empowerment. The interdisciplinary nature of the contributions have, in essence, strengthened the basic theme of this book, which is to arrive at a holistic understanding of the impact that international migration has on the broader development of South Asia. The following discussions are divided into four sections. The next section discusses the size of international migration from South Asia and its importance for the origin societies, followed by a theoretical and conceptual section that elaborates the development of migration-development debates. We expand the debate to take into consideration contemporary reality in South Asia. This section thus offers a broader framework that encompasses different types of migrants, directions of migration, forms of migration, and dimensions of development. After setting the conceptual background of the volume, the next section elaborates on the structure of the book, summarising each chapter’s key arguments and major findings that revolve around broader themes of this volume. In the conclusion, we provide some final reflections on further research on international migration and development in South Asia.