Moral economies of a translocal village

Obligation and shame among South Indian transnational migrants

Selvaraj Velayutham*, Amanda Wise

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we develop the concept of the translocal village as a subset of transnationalism to describe the highly circumscribed social relations that often emerge from small-scale translocated rural villages. In the article we explore the translocal dimensions of a rural South Indian village in Tamil Nadu as a case study to advance this theoretical position. Like all transnational communities involved in the production of locality, identity and social viability, Soorapallam villagers and fellow Musuguntha Vellalar caste members now based in Singapore maintain strong social and cultural ties with their village. However, what is most interesting about this community is that its involvement in translocal practices is determined by a moral economy of obligations and responsibilities based on caste membership, which, in turn, is regulated by regimes of affect and policed through the gaze of fellow translocals. We will demonstrate the specific ways in which this moral economy is reproduced and maintained across distance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-47
Number of pages21
JournalGlobal Networks
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005

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