Employing a multiscalar approach to migration outcomes, spanning individual households, local communities, the macroeconomy and global patterns of capital accumulation, this book demonstrates how cumulatively causal processes at structural, institutional and agency levels have forged a precariously remittance-dependent economy in Sri Lanka.
This book combines historical-structural analysis with qualitative research to contend that remittance inflows have reinforced patterns of uneven development in Sri Lanka. At the heart of this argument is a bold critique of remittance capital that inverts the migration–development nexus which has come to dominate international policymaking, with implications for Sri Lanka and other ‘remittance economies’ throughout the Global South. The author contends that temporary labour migration from Sri Lanka is a process of ‘migration-underdevelopment’, in which remittance inflows – ubiquitously considered a key source of capital for developing economies – are reinforcing of uneven development at multiple scales and produce unsustainable development outcomes.
Offering a uniquely systematic critique of remittances as a source of developmental capital for countries of origin, such as Sri Lanka, this book will be of interest to academics in the field of development studies, migration studies and Asian studies.
Table of Contents
1 The History of Migration-Development; 2 The Political Economy of Uneven Development and in Sri Lanka; 3 In Search of the ‘Good Life’: Uneven Development and Forced Migration; 4 The Cost of Being Exploited: Fees, Debts and the Merchants of Labour; 5 Manufacturing Success: Status and the Re-socialisation of Migrant Labour; 6 Remittances and the Financing of Uneven Development; 7 The Unequal ‘Wins’ of Temporary Labour Migration; 8 Conclusion: Migration-Underdevelopment
Matt Withers is a research fellow in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University, Australia. His research is concerned with the political economy of temporary labour migration and the developmental implications of remittances both in Sri Lanka and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.