Movers and Makers : Uncertainty, Resilience, and Migrant Creativity in Worlds of Flux book cover
1st Edition

Movers and Makers
Uncertainty, Resilience, and Migrant Creativity in Worlds of Flux

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 30, 2021
ISBN 9781472589231
March 30, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
232 Pages 10 Color & 14 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book considers the impact of movement on creativity and innovation across different diasporic communities. In a highly original examination of twenty-first century migrant life, Parminder Bhachu explores what it is about these groups and individuals which predispose them to create ideas, products and markets. How is it that those who do not come from the traditional structures of power and economic capital are able to thrive and be upwardly mobile? Ethnographic material highlights the life histories and narratives of figures drawn from the worlds of art, science, film, technology, architecture, music and product design, to illustrate themes such as racism, representation, displacement and cultural inheritance.

Table of Contents


1. Maker origins and migrant creativity

2. Kuljit Bhamra: artisanal music maker and democratizer of musical knowledge

3. A diasporic Gaudi: Bhajan Hunjan - architectural artist with material daring

4. Amarjit Kalsi: lyrical architect, virtuoso draughtsman

5. Jasleen Kaur: jugaadhan and border-crossing catalyzer of dialogue

6. Fearless sound shaper, Rishi Rich, and path-breaking singer-songwriter, Jay Sean

7. Multi-faceted makers and defiant disruptors of the artistic status quo: the Singh Twins

8. Wishing the best for all: Suneet Singh Tuli – computing power for the billions

9. Jatinder Verma: cartographer of politicized performance: mapping a landscape of dreams

10. Professor Sir Tejinder Singh Virdee: navigator of Newton’s ocean of truth

Conclusion. The immigrant imperative: sharing and contributing for the common good

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Parminder Bhachu is Professor of Sociology at Clark University in Worcester, USA.


"Another fascinating exploration of the creative aspects of migration from an author who is herself an expert on the subject and a living example of the process. Movers and Makers covers an exciting range of people and topics: artists, architects, designers, computer specialists and physicists. It concludes with an astute discussion of the immigrant imperative that only the author could explore with brilliant insight and an unparalleled knowledge of immigrant creativity."

- John Stone, Boston University, USA

"If, as W. E. B.Du Bois stated, the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line, then the problem of the twenty-first is the problem of immigration redrawing every border we encounter. Or maybe it isn't a problem but a solution. As Lytton Strachey did in Eminent Victorians, Parminder Bhachu curates for us a portrait gallery of individuals whose odysseys are as admirable as they are emblematic. The cumulative effect is arresting: we are not only who we are but who we share our epoch with. There is much to learn from these characters, primarily that an itinerant life, yours and that of your ancestors, defines your DNA and the way you think of ‘home’." 

- Ilan Stavans, Amherst College, USA

"After reading Bhachu's profiles of craft-honing migrant innovators, I never will think of migration - or of art - the same again. Every chapter has compelled me to re-think what is happening on the margins, to reflect afresh on democracy. Here's a wager: I bet that once you've read this book, you too will make ‘jugaad’ central to your understanding of this world."

- Cynthia Enloe, Clark University, USA

"Sociologists have been known to spout rubbish about resilience. Don’t let that put you off this unusual, stimulating and deeply thoughtful book. Parminder Bhachu has combined lucid analysis and reflection in truly unprecedented ways. The result is as creative as the itinerant mentalities it celebrates. She contributes artfully to the striking patterns that she has identified. The concept of culture emerges from this sparkling survey in enriched form, elaborated and restored from its ubiquitous trivialisation."

- Paul Gilroy, University College London, UK

"The relevance of Parminder Bhachu’ s Movers and Makers to our times cannot be overstated. Drawing on deep personal experience enhanced by her anthropological sensitivity, she has brought an extraordinarily important dimension of multiple migration into sharp focus. Here are excitingly creative makers from a wide range of cultural and social contexts whose very resilience and ability to improvise and thus achieve success have come from their hinterland of pioneering migrant cultures and forms of technical skill or expertise which have accrued directly from their history of movement. This message is not just about the present or recent past – it is also about the deep past and the future. We must all learn from it."

- Deborah Swallow, Courtauld Institute of Art

"There are very few writers who understand the complex context of my body of work. I can always rely on Parminder Bhachu to ‘Get’ the significance of my creative choices like no other. For me, her precious voice from lived experience across four continents gives her analysis of the lives and work of 21st century movers and makers a singular authenticity. She and I and others like us who have inherited a deep and complex history of movement across borders vibrantly assert our version of the world in defiance of the status quo, particularly in times of anxiety and ambivalence. We tell our stories in ways that only we can. It’s the current anxious times that make Movers and Makers a ‘must read’ for today, a feisty riposte to anti-migration rhetoric illuminating a hopeful way for us to negotiate and inspire our collective uncertain future." 

- Gurinder Chadha OBE, Bend It Networks