Future-making and frictional mobility in the return of Burmese migrants
Keywords:Burmese Migrants, Future-Making, Mobility, Myanmar, Return Migration
This article explores the experiences of recent returnees from Thailand to Southeast Myanmar and the complicated landscape of their future-making. In looking at the arduous journeys of Burmese migrants both in Myanmar and Thailand, I discuss how economic and political developments in reform-era Myanmar have informed Burmese migrants’ idea of return migration. Seeking a better life through coming home, they have encountered factors of friction and traction that either support or impede their plans. Accordingly, I argue that the return of these Burmese workers has become frictional mobility rather than a straightforward return. Ethnic politics and land boom in the region have intensified social inequality and conflicts that eventually make the organization of return more complex. The situation allows migrants to settle in their home country, postpone the return, and continue shuttling at the border while using the pattern of movement as a livelihood.
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