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ADI and MDM Lunchtime Seminar – The Migration-Development Regime: How Class Shapes Indian Emigration

ADI and MDM Lunchtime Seminar – The Migration-Development Regime: How Class Shapes Indian Emigration

Event Venue:

Deakin Burwood Corporate Centre 221 Burwood HighwayBurwood, VIC, 3125, Australia ( Map )

Please join us for the next ADI Lunchtime Seminar Series & MDM Stream event on Thursday 29 June where Professor Rina Agarwala (Professor of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University) will be presenting her research on: The Migration-Development Regime: How Class Shapes Indian Emigration. 

 The ADI lunchtime seminars are an opportunity for a relaxed, informal, monthly discussion of current research projects and recent publications over a 60-minute lunch session. An associated ADI researcher speaks for 20-30 minutes followed by 20-30 minutes of Q&A discussion. 

We invite contributions from any researcher, or team of researchers, associated with ADI, from proposed and in-progress projects through to completed research and publications. ECRs are especially welcome. If you are interested in presenting, please directly contact or


How can we explain the causes and effects of global migration from the perspective of sending states and migrants themselves? The Migration and Development Regime introduces a novel analytical framework to help answer this question in India, the world’s largest emigrant exporter and the world’s largest remittance-receiving country.  Drawing on an archival analysis of Indian government documents, a new data base of Indian migrants’ transnational organizations, and unique interviews with poor and elite Indian emigrants, recruiters, and government officials, this book exposes the vital role the Indian state, as well as its poor and elite emigrants, have long played in forging and legitimizing class inequalities within India through their management of international emigration.  Since the 1800s, the Indian state has differentially used poor and elite emigrants to accelerate domestic economic growth at the cost of class inequalities, while still retaining political legitimacy. At times, the Indian state has forbidden emigration, at other times it has promoted it.  At times, Indian emigrants have brought substantial material inflows, at other times, they have brought new ideas to support new development agendas within India.  But throughout, Indian emigration practices have deepened class inequalities by imposing different regulations, acquiring different benefits from different classes of emigrants, and making new class pacts-all while remaining invisible in political and academic discussions on Indian development.  On the flip side, since the early 1900s, poor and elite emigrants have resisted and re-shaped Indian development in response to state migration practices.  By taking this long and class-based view, this book recasts contemporary migration not simply as a problematic function of “neoliberalism” or as a development panacea for sending countries, but as a long and dynamic historical process that sending states and migrants have long tried to manage.  In doing so, it re-defines the primary problems of migration, exposes the material and ideological impact that migration has on sending state development, and isolates what is truly novel about contemporary migration.   


Rina Agarwala is Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. Agarwala publishes and lectures on international development, labor, migration, gender, social movements, and Indian politics.  Agarwala is the author of Informal Labor, Formal Politics and Dignified Discontent in India (Cambridge, 2013) and The Migration-Development Regime: How Class Shapes Indian Emigration (Oxford, 2022), as well as the co-editor of Whatever Happened to Class? Reflections from South Asia (Routledge, 2008, 2016). Agarwala has worked at the United Nations Development Program in China, the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India, and Women’s World Banking in New York.  She holds a BA in Economics and Government from Cornell University, an MPP in Political and Economic Development from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a PhD. in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University.  


This event is taking place at Deakin Burwood Corporate Centre (BCC). Please register here if you are attending in-person.

Otherwise, you can join us via Zoom.  

Meeting ID: 839 2707 3754  

Please email for the password. 


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