Family and Global migration.

Throughout history, human beings have always migrated from one destination to another in such of better living conditions. Whereas migration is a very controversial topic, few people can dispute that in the current globalizing world, migration of human beings is bound to continue. People migrate for various reasons but the chief reasons include the search for better living conditions, better jobs, better career prospects and some to flee from wars or religious persecution. The United States for instance, has been able to grow such a resilient economy partly on its capacity to attract immigrants from all over the world. Some of the worlds best and brightest brains routinely choose to leave everything in their home country in order to settle in the United States. Some have also come through the Green card program in order to fill certain skill voids in the country whereas others have come to the country illegally. The European Union, perhaps sensing the need to attract talent globally, also introduced the blue card so as to compete for the worlds best talent.However global migration has its challenges too. The migrants sometimes have problems assimilating into the host culture. They are faced by underlying problems such as racism and an identity crisis.                                                             

Theoretical perspectives on migration are clustered in two camps. The first is based on classical economics and has undergone little change since the end of the nineteenth century (Addleton, 199216 as cited in Gardner_2B-_2BMigration.pdf).                                                                                   

This uses the notion of push and pull factors to explain the choices which migrants have to make. This migration is often described as different types of flow, thus highlighting its demographic and economic features rather than its social, political, or cultural meanings. (Gardner_2B-_2BMigration.pdf).                                                                                                                           

In neo classical analysis, stress is upon causes rather than effects of migration it is seen primarily as an individual or household affair, and its wider structural implications are less considered. Its assumption is that migration is the result of rationalizing economic forces, and can thus be statistically modeled. (Gardner_2B-_2BMigration.pdf).                                                     

Other studies, whilst not embracing classical economic notions of rationality, maintain notions of push and pull to explain the processes which lead to migration. In the same context, migration in this sense has been analyzed as a decision making process, although more sensitively than theorists who understand it solely in terms of economic rationality. While these studies are not the same as the classical economics, focus is upon the micro-level, rather than wider structural factors. (Gardner_2B-_2BMigration.pdf).
Another version of the classical model is given by Galbraith, who argues that international migration acts globally to balance economic and population inequities. This takes a wider perspective of the whole migration issue, whilst using classical notions of economic equilibrium. In this scenario, migrants from the southern hemisphere, with poor job prospects and deeply entrenched poverty move to the north in search of better livelihoods where there is a lot of work and shrinking population. The mass movement of people across the globe is thus a means through which capitalist profit can be siphoned back to areas which are most in need of investment. (Gardner_2B-_2BMigration.pdf).                                                                                             

In the recent years, anthropologists have tended to reject the certitudes of grand theory which recognize the plurality of the world. Indicating ethnographic diversity without ignoring wider political-economic contexts is an increasingly important challenge for all anthropologists. (Gardner_2B-_2BMigration.pdf).                                                                                              

Globalization as a concept refers to the compression of the world. This produces both cultural homogeneity and cultural diversity it links previously isolate cultures and produces new transnational cultures, which transcend national boundaries.                                                                    

Some scholars view migration in terms of power relations, both between places and between people.Neo-marxists interpret international migration as an expression of the unequal power of the core and the periphery.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
For instance, Abdullah Meer of Talukpur village in, Nobiganj, Bangladesh and Stepney Green, London, bids his family goodbye after a short three month visit to his native village. He is returning to his London home. He finds much change in his native village and many of the people he knew are now removed from the village, many of them settling in Britain. He finds that his social life is much in London as it is in Bangladesh. The global networks which link Mr. Meer and so many other villagers to the developed countries are quite normal in Nobiganj because of the entrenched poverty in the area. Many people move out of the periphery (poor countries) to the core (rich countries) in such of better livelihoods. (Gardner_2B-_2BMigration.pdf)
Viewing migrants as part of two worlds which are dynamically intertwined is therefore vital for a full understanding of them. Rather than presenting migrants as caught between two cultures, it is important to understand the origins and destinations of the migrants. Taking migration in the UK for example, the migration and settlement is a dynamic process in which the identity and life-styles of groups are constantly changing. The nature of social institutions (marriage, gift exchange, and so on), ethnic identity and group character, still forms the basis for much of the anthropological studies of British minorities.
According to Aihwa Ong,immigrants often negotiate racial and cultural boundaries in the United States hence creating a cultural citizenship with subject making.Wheras some scholars claim that racism has been replaced by cultural fundamentalism in defining who belongs or does not belong in western democracies, hierarchical schemes of racial and cultural difference intersect in a complex ,contingent way to locate minorities of color from different class backgrounds.(Ong_2B-_2BCultural_2BCitizenship.pdf).Some individual experiences from women are going to reinforce this assertion.                                                                                             

Aihwa Ong left Malaysia in the fall of 1970 and arrived in New York as a freshman. She was immediately swept into the anti-war movement as President Richard Nixon had just begun his secret bombing of Cambodia. She joined the crowds of angry students who marched along Broadway and participated in the takeover of the East Asian Institute building of the Columbia University campus. As she stood there confronting the police in riot gear, she thought of what South East Asia meant to the United States. Were the South Asians just an anonymous mass of people in black pajamas American lives were being lost in the war against communism and so were the lives of Cambodians, Vietnamese, Laotians and others. This rite of passage was to shape her attitude towards citizenship. As a foreign student, she was at a disadvantage in almost everything jobs, loans, fellowships and scholarships. Though her sister, a naturalized American, could have sponsored her for a green card, she considered the bombing of Cambodia as a wider disregard for her part of the world and this made the American citizenship a difficult moral issue for her. Many experts on citizenship ignore such experiences and only focus on the legal-political aspects. For instance, Thomas Marshall defines citizenship as a question of modernity, but he identifies it primarily in terms of the evolution of civil society and the working out of the tensions between the sovereign subject and solidarity in a nation state.(Ong_2B-_2BCultural_2BCitizenship.pdf).Other scholars have also not taken into account the everyday processes whereby people, especially immigrants, are made into subjects of particular nation-state.                                                                                                                                                    

According to Ong,(Ong_2B-_2BCultural_2BCitizenship.pdf), Citizenship is but a cultural process of subjectification especially the making of cultural citizens in western democracies such as the United States. Cultural citizenship is used to refer to the cultural practices and beliefs produced out of negotiating the often ambivalent and contested relations with the state and its hegemonic forms that establish the criteria for belonging within a national population and territory.Often, cultural citizenship is a dual process of self making and being made within webs of power linked to the nation state and civil society.                                                                                                                                                  

When Ong moved from Massachusetss to California in the early 1980s, she was struck by the range of peoples from the Asia-Pacific region at a time when the majority of Asian Americans were of Japanese, Chinese or Korean ancestry. Due to the global conflicts and economic restructuring of the 1980s, this era was a very turbulent one. This brought a great number of refugees into the developed countries. War refugees were mainly from Cambodia, Vietnam,Sri lanka,Afghanistan,Ethipia,and central America. These Diasporas had both poor workers as well as wealthy ones. For instance, the Asian diaspora penetrated the economic core of the san Francisco bay area so much so that Asian students now accounted for 30 of the total student population of the University of California, Berkeljy.Out of every five residents of the Bay area, one is of Asian origin.(San Francisco Chronicle, December 5,1988 as cited in Ong_2B-_2BCultural_2BCitizenship.pdf).This changing demographics in California have changed the terms for debate on immigration and multiculturalism not only for the state but for the whole country. What will the United States as a pacific country look like This has led to some political backlash amongst the whites who fear that they will become a minority soon not only in California but in the whole country.Consequently, Asian immigrants have been victimized as overachievers.                                                                                                                                           
The immigrants also find certain cultures hard to do away with. For instance, within the refugee community, there are frequent reports of marital conflict, which is often attributed to the suffering and dislocation engendered by war and exile.However most of the tensions are caused by the harsh living conditions in the inner cities where most refugee immigrants reside. For instance, Cambodian customs regarding family and gender roles have been severely undermined as men have failed to be the familys breadwinner women become more assertive and independent. The relation between husband and wife is not dictated by the Cambodian Khmer culture, but by the struggle to survive and gain access to the State resources and especially the welfare. Men feel that they have lost value in that they are not able to provide for their families. A kru Khmer (shaman) who is often consulted by unhappy couples noted that money is the root cause of this marital distress. He notes that many of them who came to the United States are supported by the State and it is usually the wife who gets the welfare check and not the husband since she is the one who takes care of the kids. When she receives the check, the husband wants to spend it but when she refuses, this leads to wife abuse. Many women try to maintain the male-dominated family system despite the threats and abuse. As a woman confided to Khmer There are many cases of wife abuse yes, everyone gets beaten, myself included. But sometimes we have to just keep quiet even after a disagreement. Like in my case, I dont want to call the police or anything. As the old saying goes It takes two hands to clap. One hand cannot sound itself.I just shed a few tears and let it go. If it gets out of hand, then you can call the police. But the men still think more of themselves than the women. They never lower themselves to be our equals.                                                                                  

 As this confession clearly demonstrates, the over-reliance on the welfare system has led to a shift in the balance of domestic power. Women are aware of their role in the marital conflicts. The speaker (Khmer) suggests that she tolerates the beating because men cannot adjust themselves to their lowered status. This scenario is the same that European immigrants in the early 20th century faced that of being caught in the difficult position as victims of wife abuse and guardians of their children(Gordon 1988261).They stand up to their husbands in order to ensure their childrens economic survival.                                                                                                                

It is also important to consider the case of Filipino workers in Hong Kong Homes. According Nicole Consatable, when she first met Cathy, she was nineteen years old. She is the youngest of the six children and her mother is a widow. She completed her secondary school at age seventeen and being a bright student she had hoped to study management in college and eventually start a small business.However,her mother couldnt afford the tuition and so Cathy decided to work as a helper in Hong Kong instead. She had to overcome her mothers resistance and reservations. To avoid employment-agency expenses, Cathy asked her sister, who had already worked in Hong Kong for six years, to help her find an employer. A friend of her sisters recommended Ms.Leung who ran a small textile business. Cathy was assured that Ms.Leung would be a good employer because she was single and lived alone in a small, middle class flat. It seemed the workload would be reasonable. As it turned however, Cathy was required to work sixteen hours a day and to do illegal work outside of her employers home. She was not paid the legal HK3,200 stipulated in her wage.

When she ate with the family she was served last and other times she was given leftovers and rarely enough to eat. The family slept in air-conditioned quarters while she slept in the storeroom, which was sweltering hot in the summer and leaked when it rained. She was given strict rules to follow and was not allowed to wear make-up. Such rules appear to be the norm among domestic workers in Hong Kong. The rules seem to favor the employers as the employer will have the right to claim back all the charges for every cost they incurred to enable the employee come to Hong Kong incase the employee misbehaves.                                                                                                                                         

Similarly, Linda Green explores how the Mayan youth have shaped rural industrialization in Guatemala. Impoverished Mayas who make up the majority of Guatemalas population feel most intensely the impact of drastic reductions in social service expenditure and the lifting of price controls on basic foods. They also experience increasing levels of unemployment and scant work opportunities in low-paid jobs. For instance, 15-year old began Martina began working in a small factory in 1999.She commuted each day on a company owned bus to her job in the factory. At first, Martinas parents and in particular her fathers, Pedro, were against her working in the factory. In the end however, the father agreed and acceded to her wishes and gave her permission for her to join her brother, cousins and many other adolescent residents of the town as a wage worker. After five months into the job, she returned one day from work and as her mother served her dinner she remarked that the food looked to her like vomit. Her father was upset by this and beat her up. Martina would not return home till a week later. Though this may be viewed by some as a simple case of adolescence insolence, it does point to the complex notions of gender, power, labor, modernity and culturefamily for Mayan adolescents. Many of these young Mayan women are caught between two worlds-one, a cultural world, only partially intact, wholly diminished, with scant resources for creating a future-the other modern and globalised from which they are simultaneously excluded, exploited and seduced(Green, pages 102-103).                           

The case of Afro-Dominican single mothers who choose to work as sex workers in Sosua is also an interesting one.Nanci, a sex worker, explains that she chose to sell sex because prostitution is much easier than other work options available to poor women like her. She explains that she has only to work for three or four hours a week and she gets to go to restaurants and out dancing as compared to working eight hours a day at a factory for less money. Even if she is with a man she doesnt like, she consoles herself that it will be over in a shortwhile.However the sex life isnt as rosy as Nanci puts it. The competition for clients is stiff especially in the low tourist seasons and the sex workers get arrested a few times a month in which case they have to pay bribes to the police. They also must spend more to eat in the restaurants.Eventually, realizing that there is no windfall in Sosua, and missing their children, women usually return to their home communities in less than a year, just as poor when they first arrived. Women arrive in Sosuas sex trade after an individual calculus in which they weigh the potential risks and the financial benefits.Sex trade is one of the few avenues available to poor, uneducated women who strive for economic advancement. (Brennan, pages 119-121)                         

The Chinese case is also important to consider. The key motivation for the transnational migration of affluent Chinese are their families. Although these wealthy investors are willing to move across borders, locating their children in California is a major priority. This is also known as family bio-politics. The heads of wealthy Chinese families manifest a biopolitical instrumentality in governing the conduct of family members in the interest of ensuring the security and prosperity of the family as a whole. For instance, the term utilitarian familiarism has been applied to the normative and practical tendencies whereby Hong Kong Chinese families place family interest above all other individual and other social concerns. A more common route for gaining residence rights is to send children to US high schools and colleges. .(Ong_2B-_2BCultural_2BCitizenship.pdf).For instance, Alex Leong, a middle aged executive from a Hong Kong based finance company, confided that his father always told him, Your future is really going to be outside Hong Kong. So you should be educated outside, as long as you maintain some Chinese customs and speak Chinese. .(Ong_2B-_2BCultural_2BCitizenship.pdf).However, sometimes the attempts to coordinate family bio-politics has backfired. For instance, some 40,000 Taiwanese teenagers have been left to fend for themselves in California as their parents pursue business interests in Asia.                                    

In summary, International migration has had profound effects, not only on individual villages, but also nationally.(Gardner_2B-_2BMigration.pdf).For instance, remittances are now a major source of foreign exchange for many countries. Early anthropological research tended to understand migration as an external, which would inevitably lead to the breakdown of local culture. This view was especially true for Africa, where researchers of pre-independence Africa, who saw male labor migration in negative terms and linked it to the agricultural decay and detribalization (e.g Richards,1939Shapera,1947).In India,too,migration has been linked with the breakdown of the joint family.(Bailey,1958Epstein,1962).These studies insinuate that migration causes a cultural change in societies whereby traditional social societies are transformed into modern ones. Many studies on immigration portray sending communities as corrupted. A more sober approach towards migration should be encouraged as the world rapidly becomes a global village. According to the United Nations (UN), there are already 250 million people who live and work outside their countries of birth. Does this ring any bells


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