Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Mumbai | Tuljapur | Guwahati | Hyderabad

National Conference on "Multiple Contexts of Migration — Multitude of Migrants"


Venue: TISS Patna Centre

Concept Note


The assertion that we are living in an “age of migration” is now a well-established consensus and in real danger of turning into a commonplace observation. Migration within national territories and across international borders—land, sea, and air— is the context around which commodities are being produced, workers are put to work, spaces of production being created, and political terrain being formed. Migration is arguably more diverse now than it has been at any period of human history and social formations. Peasants and workers in search of work and livelihood, refugees, Internally Displaced Persons, Stateless, sans papiers, asylum seekers, etc. have multiplied and are desperate to either flee or arrive. There are some movements, migrations, and mobilities that are extremely hard to notice much less describe. The state and non-state actors have tried and are trying to either manage or manipulate these migrations, to either control or multiply them. The actors and agents have multiplied keeping in pace with the forms of migratory processes. What this means to social science research is that it might be futile if not totally superfluous to conceive of a grand theory of migration that will capture in one analytical plane all these myriad forms of migration and its subjects. What social science can do though is to come up with diverse methods, concepts, and theories that will be able to capture the many migratory processes in its specificity and link it with larger global processes of economy and politics. This conference is an attempt in that direction.

The papers presented in this conference register the many contexts of migration in India as well as at the global scale. They study varied spaces of production like plantations, ship-breaking beaches, and borders. They bring on board issues of migration as a result of climate and environmental change, urbanization, and processes of rehabilitation. They probe rural, particularly agrarian, transitions and how classes of surplus labour are being transformed into desperate migrants. These papers study how issues of gender, caste, and identity are constituted in the context of migration. They go deep in the study of urban planning imaginaries that seek to either settle migrants or uproot residents and they seek to reveal the deep cultural transformation that migration wrought. These papers cover almost the entire regions of India and are informed by various disciplines and methods, indeed, are inter- and multi-disciplinary in their approaches and references. These papers, diverse as they are, are also in conversation with each other with their tensions and agreements. The idea of the conference is to build on these productive tensions to understand the manifold ways in which migration is shaping the world today.

For detailed programme schedule, click here.

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