CFP Immobilities: Space, class and status in Asia

Maansi Parpiani's picture
Call for Papers
March 10, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Asian History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Area Studies


We are surrounded today by images of migration and movement. This is marked not only by physical migration but also by the aspirations of material, class or status mobility. Particularly in Asia, migration for education, marriage and livelihood options has been widely studied (Chakravarty and Chakravarty 2016; Lorente 2017). In addition to trans-national migration, intra-regional and rural – urban migration have been dominant strategies, for individuals and groups seeking to improve life-chances (Meng 2010; Swider 2016).

This focus on migration and mobility is Asia has however foreclosed the range of experiences that maybe characterised by ‘immobility’. This may include experiences counter-intuitive to the linear genealogical narrative of mobility, and discuss the disappointments and failures of projects seeking mobility in Asia. Drawing from the conceptual use of notions of ‘localisation’ in migration studies elsewhere (Bönisch-Brednich and Trundle 2010; Nalbantian 2018; Schnell 2013), the panel also calls for papers that may look at migrant groups as seek to establish themselves at their migratory sites.

The panel invites both historical and contemporary explorations of the conditions of physical, social or economic ‘immobility’ (Götz et al. 2016; Jaffe 2012; Kaur and Sundar 2016; Keshavarz 2018). What makes individuals and groups, not move? Why do they choose to stay? What are the imaginaries of migration among these ‘locals’ who never left? How do they experience notions of missed opportunities, downward mobility or socio-economic stagnancy?


Bönisch-Brednich, Brigitte, and Catherine Trundle. 2010. Local Lives, Migration and the Politics of Place. Studies in Migration and Diaspora. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
Götz, Irene, Miriam Gutekunst, Andreas Hackl, Sabina Leoncini, and Julia Sophia Schwarz. 2016. Bounded Mobilities, Ethnographic Perspectives on Social Hierarchies and Global Inequalities.
Jaffe, Rivke. 2012. “Talkin’ ’bout the Ghetto: Popular Culture and Urban Imaginaries of Immobility.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36 (4): 674–88.
Kaur, Ravinder, and Nandini Sundar. 2016. “Snakes and Ladders: Rethinking Social Mobility in Post-Reform India.” Contemporary South Asia, 1–13.
Keshavarz, Mahmoud. 2018. The Design Politics of the Passport: Materiality, Immobility and Dissent. London,: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Lorente, Beatriz P. 2017. Scripts of Servitude, Language, Labor Migration and Transnational Domestic Work. Critical Language and Literacy Studies. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Multilingual Matters.
Meng, Xin. 2010. The Great Migration, Rural-Urban Migration in China and Indonesia. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Nalbantian, Tsolin. 2018. “Armenians in Lebanon: Becoming Local in the Levant.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 50 (4): 773–77. Schnell, Steven M. 2013. “Deliberate Identities: Becoming Local in America in a Global Age.” Journal of Cultural Geography 30 (1): 55–89. Swider, Sarah. 2016. Building China, Informal Work and the New Precariat. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


This is a call for papers for the 11th annual Asian Dynamics Initiative Conference to be held in Copenhagen, 17-19 June 2019. The theme of this year's conference is Asian Mobilities. More details on the conference could be found here- 

If you are interested in the panel, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to the panel convener at before 10 March 2019. 

Contact Info: 

Maansi Parpiani

PhD fellow

Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies

University of Copenhagen


Contact Email: