Sri Lanka’s Remittance Economy: A Multiscalar Analysis of Migration-Underdevelopment, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sri Lanka’s Remittance Economy

A Multiscalar Analysis of Migration-Underdevelopment, 1st Edition

By Matt Withers


178 pages

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Hardback: 9781138320048
pub: 2019-05-21
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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

About the Author

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.

About the Series

Routledge Series on Asian Migration

Asia is now the most essential and dynamic region receiving and sending both long-term and short-term migrants, undertaking migration in all routes and in various forms. This series addresses various imminent trends of international migration in Asia, and the development of various Asian diaspora communities around the world. It brings together interests and efforts on migration studies focusing on the plights of Asian migrants within and beyond Asia, as well as all levels of governance and management of migration.

Books in the series broaden the discussions of the relationship between migration and globalization, transnationalism, development, governance, inter-cultural studies, and identity and diaspora. They address specific social and cultural dynamics – such as gender relations, population, family and marriage patterns, new class formation, and the transformation of cultural values – that have been brought by Asian migration. This series highlights Asia as a region with the most active migration movements, which should be one of the most essential areas bringing critical social changes within and across national boundaries.

The series welcomes submissions from prominent scholars in Asian Migration studies as well as emerging scholars with empirically rich and updated research.


Editorial Board

Steven J. Gold, Michigan State University, US

David Haines, George Mason University, US

Nana Oishi, University of Melbourne, Australia

Willem van Schendel, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Biao Xiang, University of Oxford, ,UK

Pei-Chia Lan, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Brenda Yeoh, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies