- Slides: 33
Rural to urban and international migration: implications for Intangible Cultural Heritage Regional Consultation Meeting on Intangible Heritage beyond Borders, Bangkok 20– 21 July, Rahul Goswami
What can migration do to ICH? What does climate change do to migration? What do economic choices do to people bearing ICH? How do they cope? Where do they go? What do they take with them? What do they lose?
Despite the transformation of many Southern economies towards non-farm and service industries, agriculture often accounts for 20% of GDP and continues to account for the largest proportion of the workforce. Declines in rural production thus directly affect large proportions of the population, presenting a significant migration driver. When they lose their cultivation, what happens next?
In lower income countries, 40% of workers are employed in agriculture, a sector that often needs high input costs despite the fact that farmers and farm workers usually have lower than average incomes. With economic policy depressing farm incomes below non-farm incomes, there is often rural-to-urban migration, one reason why the urban share of the world's population surpassed 50% for the first time in 2008. Is bad economics and weak governance responsible for ICH erosion?
There is a common set of governance problems that can be seen operating in Asia-Pacific, South America and Africa. These are: weak law and order; erosion in the government's capacity to deliver essential services, centralised political and administrative systems; poor control of corruption, political instability, weak rule of law. All of which from a macroeconomic point of view hampers prospects for capital inflows and generation and…. . more important for ICH, increasingly drives regional and international out-migration.
The Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty is a research partnership led by the University of Sussex, and brings together the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh; the University of Ghana, Legon; the Centre for Economic and Social Studies, Albania; the American University in Cairo, Egypt; the University of East Anglia; and the Institute for Development Studies. The programme found…
* South-South migration constituted around half of all international migration from the South at the turn of the 21 st century, representing between 61 and 74 million people. * Substantial flows that are internal to countries in the global South, including an estimated 34 million interprovincial migrants in China in 2000, and 42 million inter-state migrants in India in 2001. * South-South international migration is particularly significant for sub-Saharan Africa, where 69 per cent of international migrants were living in other sub. Saharan African countries in 2001. * South-South international migration and internal migration in the South are of particular significance for poor people, and for poverty.
Industrial countries had 'Great Migrations' off the land in the 1950 s and 1960 s, providing workers for expanding factories, fuelling population growth in cities, and adding to emigration pressures. Similar Great Migrations are underway today in many Asian countries, including China and India. rural-urban migrants often make physical as well as cultural transitions, merging quickly into replacement social networks that modify (or re-create) the ICH they have been used to. What does ‘replacement’ ICH mean for them, to them?
Understanding these impacts and consequences has been difficult for Asian sociologists and anthropologists. They have dealt with the patterns of colonialism and the painful process of decolonisation. Beyond and besides identity, some of them have developed understandings about what happens to cultural products such as indigenous music, textile designs, handicrafts, herbal medicines, dance forms and so on under globalisation. Using such knowledge, we have discussed questions such as whether indigenous cultural products can remain what they are. Or will they respond to ‘market forces’ and bring in some form of economic prosperity?
In contrast, those involved directly with the recording and safeguarding of indigenous cultures, particularly in North. East India, cite globalisation and liberalisation of the national economy as being instrumental in causing job losses and loss of traditional skills. For such communities, I find, there is a kind of cultural inertia that dominates the psychology of the people because the individual, family and clan may be caught in the conflicts between multiple structures of power and authority. Does "integration with the mainstream" truly mean economic empowerment through development?
"If the trend is allowed to continue in an indiscriminate and mindless manner, globalisation will create a market in which Naga, Khasi or Mizo communities will become mere brand names and commodity markers stripped of all human significance and which will definitely mutate the ethnic and symbolic identities of a proud people. Globalisation in this sense will eventually reduce identity to anonymity. " This statement comes from Temsula Ao, a poet, short story writer and folklorist at a university in North-East India
All indicators point to more, not less, migration in the years ahead. Despite this, Asian governments rarely plan for migration, both internal and external. Migration continues rapidly, and the 'integration' that is so apparent in popular western European discourse about multiculturalism is rare in Asia, but sub-communities abound, and they survive and thrive in Asia's 'closed' societies because of their adherence to a variety of forms of ICH, which allows them to economically integrate but culturally remain separately defined from their host communities. migration aggravates tensions Unmanaged between countries - South Asia being particularly prone to such tensions.
Short-distance and circular migration often has different drivers from long-distance, more permanent migration. Short migration is often a response to shocks - food shortage, or flooding, or a temporary or cyclical shortage of employment or income. Long migration is more usually planned, often as part of a household decision to 'invest' in the migration of certain household members in order to bring longer-term benefits to other members of the household through remittances, investment in schooling or the development of a small business. It is this ‘investment’ in migration that offers insights into how ICH can be nurtured even under adversity.
The International Organization for Migration has just concluded a workshop on "Societies and Identities: The Multifaceted Impact of Migration", which in 2010 has the overall theme of "Migration and Social Change". It noted that migration transforms notions of national and personal identity and some societies struggle with the process of re-defining their collective identities and maintaining social cohesion in the face of increasing diversity. Such tensions need to be negotiated in daily social interaction.
Compounding the conditions for migrant populations and hosts is a complex mix of emerging trends: • Climate change • Food and agriculture insecurity • The global financial crisis How governments and non-state parties respond to migration and ICH today will be changed by these factors tomorrow.
Where and how do states work together? The combination of climate change and migration has already intensified the focus on shared management of natural resources. Critical among them is water, and for Asia the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and Himalaya form a vast contiguous zone not only for trans-boundary cooperation on water, but also for shared heritage.
New opportunities and methods surround the emergence of new challenges before governments, multi-lateral agencies and communities. How will they find and marshal the resources to work on these matters together? • Social entrepreneurship • Ecosystem service assessments • Microfinance Innovation is the key. Innovation demands support to work at its best.