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Informality and the politics of temporariness: Ethnic migrant economies in Little Bangladesh and Little Burma in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Informality and the politics of temporariness: Ethnic migrant economies in Little Bangladesh and... This article examines two ‘ethnic’ economies in Kuala Lumpur (KL) to study how transnational migrants build new communities in the city. These communities consist of largely temporary migrants formally in the country as guest workers. As part of a global shift towards transnational temporary labor migration regimes, these new migrants from countries like Bangladesh and Burma come to Malaysia in search of opportunities and work. Despite the precariousness of their legal statuses and restrictions on their rights, migrants build vibrant, busy and active economic and social hubs in KL. Migrant communities rely upon quiet encroachment practices to stake their claims as urban citizens. They engage in struggles over the right to use public spaces, practice religion and speak different languages. These are also highly gendered spaces marked by sex-segregation in terms of work and consumption, which is a product of the gendered nature of contemporary migration. The article suggests the need for migration research to pay closer attention to the role of informality as a resource for agency and resistance for temporary migrants, as well as how both gender and ethnicity influence these experiences for migrant communities in developing non-Western societies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Sociology SAGE

Informality and the politics of temporariness: Ethnic migrant economies in Little Bangladesh and Little Burma in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

International Sociology , Volume 30 (6): 18 – Nov 1, 2015

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References (45)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2015
ISSN
0268-5809
eISSN
1461-7242
DOI
10.1177/0268580915605649
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article examines two ‘ethnic’ economies in Kuala Lumpur (KL) to study how transnational migrants build new communities in the city. These communities consist of largely temporary migrants formally in the country as guest workers. As part of a global shift towards transnational temporary labor migration regimes, these new migrants from countries like Bangladesh and Burma come to Malaysia in search of opportunities and work. Despite the precariousness of their legal statuses and restrictions on their rights, migrants build vibrant, busy and active economic and social hubs in KL. Migrant communities rely upon quiet encroachment practices to stake their claims as urban citizens. They engage in struggles over the right to use public spaces, practice religion and speak different languages. These are also highly gendered spaces marked by sex-segregation in terms of work and consumption, which is a product of the gendered nature of contemporary migration. The article suggests the need for migration research to pay closer attention to the role of informality as a resource for agency and resistance for temporary migrants, as well as how both gender and ethnicity influence these experiences for migrant communities in developing non-Western societies.

Journal

International SociologySAGE

Published: Nov 1, 2015

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