Books about migration and migrants.

by Charmi Saujani


What better way to understand the plight of workers and get a deeper perspective about their struggles than to read a book? So here we have compiled a list of books you can read. Migrant workers’ crisis has been a harsh reality for decades, though to different extents in different parts of the worlds. Hope these books would help you learn more about the migrants lives and challenges they face and how different migration and its effects can be for every other migrant

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Non-fiction -

Handbook of Internal Migration in India (2019) (S. Irudaya Rajan and Sumeetha M.)

This book is an inter-disciplinary, multi-faceted and thought-provoking book on internal migrants and their dynamics among the states in India. The first of its kind, this handbook provides novel information on processes, trends, determinants, differentials and dynamics of internal migration and its inter-linkages with individuals, families, economy and society. Most of the chapters have been written by scholars of repute who have spent their lifetime working on migration and the factors associated with it.




India Moving: A History of Migration (2018) (Chinmay Tumbe)


To understand how millions of people have moved-from, to and within India-the book embarks on a journey laced with evidence, argument and wit, providing insights into topics like the slave trade and migration of workers, travelling business communities such as the Marwaris, Gujaratis and Chettiars, refugee crises and the roots of contemporary mass migration from Bihar and Kerala, covering terrain that often includes diverse items such as mangoes, dosas and pressure cookers. India Moving shows the scale and variety of Indian migration and argues that greater mobility is a prerequisite for maintaining the country's pluralistic traditions.


Women migrant workers : Ethical, Political and legal problems (2015) (Zahra Meghani)


This book makes the case for the fair treatment of female migrant workers from the global South who are employed in wealthy liberal democracies as care workers, domestic workers, home health workers, and farm workers. An international panel of contributors provide analyses of the ethical, political, and legal harms suffered by female migrant workers, based on empirical data and case studies, along with original and sophisticated analyses of the complex of systemic, structural factors responsible for the harms experienced by women migrant workers. The book also proposes realistic and original solutions to the problem of the unjust treatment of women migrant workers, such as social security systems that are transnational and tailored to meet the particular needs of different groups of international migrant workers.


Migrant Workers in Asia: Distant Divides, Intimate Connections ( 2010) (Nicole Constable)


This book provides rich and provocative comparative studies of South and Southeast Asian domestic workers who migrate to other parts of Asia. Conceptually and methodologically, this book challenges us to move beyond established regional divides and proposes new ways of mapping inter-Asian connections. The authors view migrant workers within a wider spatial context of intersecting groups and trajectories through time. Keenly attentive to the importance of migrants of diverse nationalities who have laboured in multiple regions, this book examines intimate connections and distant divides in the social lives and politics of migrant workers across time and space.


Asianization of Migrant Workers in the Gulf Countries (2019) (S. Irudaya Rajan and Ginu Zacharia Oommen)


This edited volume contains sixteen chapters by eminent scholars on one of the largest migration corridors in the world i.e., between South and South-East Asia and the Gulf region. Asia’s trade and cultural contact with the Gulf date back to ancient historical times. Since the 1970s, the economic rise of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries owing to the discovery of oil has inspired a huge influx of migrant workers from Asia. The chapters in this book look at migration from countries like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia and Philippines to the different GCC countries. A few chapters also focus on migration from the India state of Kerala- a state where migration to the Gulf is prominent and where remittances make up over 36 percent of the state GDP. Furthermore, the issues covered range from labour practices and policies, citizenship and state protection, human rights, gender and caste as well as diaspora.


Who needs migrant workers (2010) (Martin Ruhs and Bridget Anderson)

This book discusses the demand for migrant labour both conceptually and empirically with a focus on the UK. With the number of migrant workers at a record high, the regulation of labour immigration is one of the most controversial public policy issues in high-income countries. A central question in these debates is how to link the admission of migrant workers to the 'needs' of the domestic labour market and national economy more generally. What these needs are, how they vary across sectors and occupations, and how they change during periods of economic growth and crisis are highly contested. A key theme is the importance of 'system effects' that 'produce' certain types of domestic labour shortages.

Fiction -

Goat Days (2012) (Koyippally Benyamin)


Najeeb s dearest wish is to work in the Gulf and earn enough money to send back home. He achieves his dream only to be propelled by a series of incidents, grim and absurd, into a slave-like existence herding goats in the middle of the Saudi desert. Memories of the lush, verdant landscape of his village and of his loving family haunt Najeeb whose only solace is the companionship of goats. In the end, the lonely young man contrives a hazardous scheme to escape his desert prison. Goat Days was published to acclaim in Malayalam and became a bestseller. One of the brilliant new talents of Malayalam literature, Benyamin s wry and tender telling transforms this strange and bitter comedy of Najeeb s life in the desert into a universal tale of loneliness and alienation.


The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child (1997) (Francisco Jimenez)

The Circuit, the story of young Panchito and his trumpet, is one of the most widely anthologised stories in Chicano literature. At long last, Jimenez offers more about the wise, sensitive little boy who has grown into a role model for subsequent generations of immigrants. These independent but intertwined stories follow the family through their circuit, from picking cotton and strawberries to topping carrots - and back again - over a number of years. As it moves from one labor camp to the next, the little family of four grows into ten. Impermanence and poverty define their lives. But with faith, hope, and back-breaking work, the family endures. Senderos Fronterizos (Breaking through) is the sequel of this book which completes the telling of the young life of Francisco Jiménez.


The Grapes of Wrath (1939) (John Steinbeck)

First published in 1939, Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the 1930s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family, the Joads —driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California. A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, of one man’s fierce reaction to injustice, and of one woman’s stoical strength, the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes into the very nature of equality and justice in America. At once a naturalistic epic, captivity narrative, road novel, and transcendental gospel, Steinbeck’s powerful landmark novel is perhaps the most American of American Classics.

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