Transnationalism and temporary labour migration

Matt Withers, Nicola Piper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The transnationalism literature has made an important contribution to migration scholarship by critiquing assimilationist perspectives on integration. In the context of international labour migration, it has emphasized individual and diasporic agency in its analysis of sustained relations between COO and CODs. What has been missing, we argue, is attention to the ways in which structural and institutional factors underpin the consolidation of strictly temporary migration schemes, in Asia and elsewhere, to constrain the scope of agentic transnationalism. By shifting our analytical focus toward a more dynamic stratum of cross-border activity populated by networked institutions that reinforce or contest the ‘managed migration’ of temporary labour migration schemes, we differentiate between ‘thick’ and ‘thin’ expressions of transnationalism. While migration governance largely restricts temporary migrant workers to ‘thin’ transnationalism, networked institutional actors are engaged in an array of cross-border activity that better satisfy the conceptual parameters of conventional or ‘thick’ transnationalism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on transnationalism
EditorsBrenda S. A. Yeoh, Francis L. Collins
Place of PublicationCheltenham, UK ; Northampton, USA
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781789904017
ISBN (Print)9781789904000
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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