Migration rhythms in trajectories of upward social mobility in Asia
Ninety percent of the global increase in the size of middle classes is occurring in Asia. What is driving this tremendous middle-class expansion and how is it related to the unprecedented levels of internal and international migration in that region? Specifically, what roles does migration play in Asian families’ trajectories into middle-classness over time? MigrationRhythms will investigate this question, discerning whether the roles of migration in trajectories of upward social mobility into middle-classness differ, and if so, how and why. The variation in distances and durations of migration among individuals in a family, over time, are described as migration rhythms. MigrationRhythms will produce a typology of different migration rhythms associated with specific trajectories of upward social mobility into the middle classes, which will enable a comprehensive theorization of the interaction of migration and social mobility of universal applicability, based on the unique data-rich Asian context. The combination of two distinct approaches will enable achieving MigrationRhythms’ objective of evaluating the roles of migration in trajectories of upward social mobility: First, the project employs a mixed-methods research design, encompassing family history interviews and quasi-longitudinal survey data from four Asian cities: Hanoi, Karachi, Manila and Mumbai. Second, it applies rhythmanalysis, as part of an inductive process-tracing framework, across the qualitative and quantitative data sets. This dual approach will enable the PI and two postdocs to identify the relative prevalence of different migration rhythms in families’ trajectories of upward social mobility into middle-classness. The PI will build on these analyses of migration rhythms to theorize the roles of spatial mobility (and immobility) in producing social mobility outcomes over the long-term, promising scientific advances in geography and migration studies, of relevance for research on social mobility.