Social Science Baha

Lecture Series

Migration and Development: Spring of Hope or Winter of Despair?

Jonathan Rigg
Lecture Series CXI
November 9, 2023

Jonathan Rigg
Spring of Hope or Winter of Despair?

Drawing on fieldwork undertaken in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Nepal, this lecture will assess the limits of the study of migration for judging its development impacts. Challenging the positive tendencies of multilateral agencies towards migration’s effects and affects, the seminar places mobility within structural context and development time. The conclusion is that ‘fixing’ migration to achieve good change is necessarily impossible, because migration always reaches before and stretches beyond the process itself.

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Jonathan Rigg is a Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol in the UK. Formerly, he was based at the National University of Singapore, where he was Director of the Asia Research Institute, and Durham University and SOAS, both in the UK. His research engages with questions of agrarian change in the Asian region, and he has worked since the early 1980s in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Nepal. In 2022 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

Professor Rigg is author of More that Rural: Textures of Thailand’s Agrarian Transformation (Hawaii University Press, 2019) and Rural Development in Southeast Asia: Dispossession, Accumulation and Persistence (Cambridge University Press, 2020), and co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Global Development (Taylor and Francis, 2022).

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