The migration of ideas, identities and practices
Indrajit Roy won an ESRC Future Research Leader award for his proposed work on the transmission of political ideas, identities and practices by itinerant labour migrants. His research uncovers the ambivalent and heterogeneous ways in which itinerant labour migrants living and working in different locations within India conduct politics in their home and destination localities. The project informs Indrajit’s intellectual focus on the theme of ‘transition’ in the Global South. The question of ‘transition’ from rural to urban, agriculture to industry, traditional to modernity and feudal to capitalist have concerned economists, sociologists, political scientists and historians of different intellectual persuasions.
Indrajit’s work seeks to intervene in those debates by exploring analytical issues pertaining to agrarian change and urban transformations, citizenship and other forms of membership in the political community, public policy based on the assumption of sedentary populations, and cosmopolitanism and modernity. He combines surveys, elite interviews, archival investigation, structural analysis and ethnographic fieldwork. The ethnographic work, the centrepiece of his project, is designed such as to simultaneously examine migrants’ political experiences in their localities of origin and destination as well as while they are on the move.