City without a migrant?

Kaberi Das


‘City without a migrant’ is an oxymoron to imagine of a city in the entire world where there is not a single migrant who is residing within its boundaries. This paper attempts to contribute to the body of urban studies by looking into the relationship between migrants and city, analyzing the inclusive and exclusive perspectives and probing questions whether migrants have deteriorated the conditions of the cities or they have contributed (by extending their ‘cheap’ labour) in the vertical and horizontal expansion of the cities. The paper is divided into four sections. The first section looks into the relationship between cities and migrants from the inclusive and exclusive perspectives. The second section looks at the relationship between migrants and urbanization. The third section looks into the insider-outsider paradigm that is constructed to distinguish between the local and the migrants and how the migrants negotiate their identity in Guwahati, one of the largest urbanized cities in North-East India. The fourth section analyzes policies that are framed in the context of India for migrants and the way migrants are reflected in the policies. The paper is an attempt to show that flow of people and goods have existed since time immemorial. Though in recent times  flow of people into the city cannot simply be summed up in terms of ‘push and pull’ but there are several factors at work like globalization, urbanization, industrialization, capacity to aspire and find a new way of life which leads to the migration of people to the cities. The paper tries to bring out the positive side of migration to the cities highlighting the stereotypes and labelling process which a migrant has to undergo to promote the urbanization of cities.


City, Urbanization, Migrants, Migration, Urban Sociology

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