Migration in Far West Nepal

Intergenerational Linkages between Internal and International Migration of Rural-to-Urban Migrants

Author: Ephraim Poertner | Mathias Junginger | Ulrike Müller-Böker


In Nepal, international labor migration to India and overseas, as well as internal migration to the rural Nepalese lowlands, is of high socioeconomic significance. Scholarly debates about migration in Nepal have gradually shifted from an economic to a more holistic perspective, also incorporating social dimensions. However, little evidence has been generated about internal migration to urban destinations and the potential linkages between international and internal migration. This article draws on Bourdieu's "Theory of Practice" and sees migration as a social practice. Accordingly, migration practice is regarded as a strategy social agents apply to increase or transfer capitals and ultimately secure or improve their social position. Evidence for this argument is based on a qualitative case study of rural-to-urban migrants in Far West Nepal conducted in July and August 2009. The study at hand addresses linkages between internal and international migration practices and provides insight about a social stratum that is often neglected in migration research: the middle class and, more precisely, government employees. The authors show that social relations are crucial for channeling internal migration to a specific destination. Furthermore, they unveil how internal migration is connected to the international labor migration of former generations. Finally, the authors examine how migration strategies adopted over generations create multi-local social networks rooted in the family's place of origin.

Regions: South Asia
Countries: Nepal
Topics: Migration

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