ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Changing Rural Political Economy and Nepal’s Marginal Migrants

Bodies in Search of Freedom

One of the significant transformations in the political economy of rural Nepal is the gradual weakening of traditional forms of attached and caste-based division of labour. Not only has there been a diversification of rural livelihoods from land- and agriculture-based to non-agricultural- and non-land-based sources, there is also a growing and widespread mobility of labour within and outside the country. Research findings show that mobility of labour has not necessarily meant more freedom for poorer migrants, although the idea of freedom appears to be driving much of the out-migration from rural Nepal. For marginal migrants, the circulatory nature of migration does not appear to be as transformative as might have been expected: while life in the destination may well be urban and modern, their identity remains marginal, reflecting their liminal position. Despite known risks and suffering attached to work, a large number of migrants continue to be attracted to work in exploitative working conditions within Nepal or across the border in India.



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