A new theoretical stance has been proposed in migration studies claiming that Asia provides a solid ground for elaborating theories that are different from those developed within an imperialist and colonialist framework of knowledge centered on Europe. Asia, it is argued, exhibits unique phenomena in terms of migration characteristics and main patterns in policies and practices. Asia is therefore proposed as a ‘method’ (Xiang 2013, 2014). In order to identify the main phenomena on which ‘Asian migration as method’ is anchored and discuss it critically, in this review paper I adopt return migration as the analytical focus. Drawing on major research evidence and key debates, I discuss return migration mainly in relation to East and Southeast Asia. Return migration opens important windows into the mutually constitutive relationship between the state, the individuals on whom the state lays claims of belonging, and social hierarchies. In Asia the gap separating policies and practices towards (the return of) migrants with different socio-economic background is particularly marked. Sending and receiving countries in Asia impose compulsory return on transnational migrant workers, with both stay and return policed by the institutions and the myriad actors actively involved in the mechanisms of migration. Free return, in contrast, is elicited through incentives and positive narratives from some desirable diasporic groups. Furthermore, through the lens of return, better light can be shed on the cooperation among states in Asia which manage (at least some types of) migration in agreement with each other through bilateral agreements. Interstate institutional cooperation in regulating migration is carried out with the help of different intermediaries both in the sending and the receiving countries. In this way states in Asia mutually enhance their transnational power.

ASIAN MIGRATION AS METHOD?

ANTONELLA CECCAGNO
2019

Abstract

A new theoretical stance has been proposed in migration studies claiming that Asia provides a solid ground for elaborating theories that are different from those developed within an imperialist and colonialist framework of knowledge centered on Europe. Asia, it is argued, exhibits unique phenomena in terms of migration characteristics and main patterns in policies and practices. Asia is therefore proposed as a ‘method’ (Xiang 2013, 2014). In order to identify the main phenomena on which ‘Asian migration as method’ is anchored and discuss it critically, in this review paper I adopt return migration as the analytical focus. Drawing on major research evidence and key debates, I discuss return migration mainly in relation to East and Southeast Asia. Return migration opens important windows into the mutually constitutive relationship between the state, the individuals on whom the state lays claims of belonging, and social hierarchies. In Asia the gap separating policies and practices towards (the return of) migrants with different socio-economic background is particularly marked. Sending and receiving countries in Asia impose compulsory return on transnational migrant workers, with both stay and return policed by the institutions and the myriad actors actively involved in the mechanisms of migration. Free return, in contrast, is elicited through incentives and positive narratives from some desirable diasporic groups. Furthermore, through the lens of return, better light can be shed on the cooperation among states in Asia which manage (at least some types of) migration in agreement with each other through bilateral agreements. Interstate institutional cooperation in regulating migration is carried out with the help of different intermediaries both in the sending and the receiving countries. In this way states in Asia mutually enhance their transnational power.
ANTONELLA CECCAGNO
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/727214
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