Researching 'Journeys': Challenges and Possibilities in Migration Studies

Seminar Series on Forced Migration
Seminars and Colloquia

In this presentation, Ishita Dey focused on railway networks that have played a role in the lives of internal migrant workers, especially in the context of Bihar in Eastern India, and highlighted possibilities of ethnographic engagements on journeys as a method in migration studies.

Journeys remain invisible in post-colonial scholarship on internal migration in India, except in what can be categorized as accounts of 'arrival' to destination. Taking a cue from the scholarship on the literature of partition and existing scholarship accounts of arrival, Dey feels that scholarship on internal migration in India might benefit from an ethnographic reading of journeys.

A reading of journeys might allow us to understand 'borders within borders' and their impact on India’s migrant workers. Journeys will allow us to strengthen the need to understand rural and urban as a continuum, provide a robust understanding of circular migration, and open up new possibilities for revisiting the state infrastructures that shape lives in transit.

Ishita Dey, Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, South Asian University, Delhi.

Ayse Çağlar, Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna, Permanent Fellow at IWM.

A recording of the livestream is available below.