A.S. T Mariappan
- Spatial and occupational mobility of plantation labour in Malaysia
- Retrenchments, outmigration and closure of plantations, 1951-2012
- Award date
- 2 July 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
This study is predicated on the mechanism of the response of agency under adverse structural changes affecting their work and living order, of which migration was an outcome. Migration to urban employment among agricultural families, we argue, was not a part of the family strategy to diversify household income but driven by the ‘risk of plantation work and living’. The risk of plantation work and living originated from the process of commodification of plantation lands (and labour). In short, we argued that commodification of plantation lands gave rise to the notion of ‘the risk of plantation work and living’ and to mitigate that risk, the plantation families were forced to migrate. However, the risk of plantation work and living did not result in haphazard outmigration from the plantations. Under certain structural developments, the impetus of moving-out was transformed into action. We introduced the concept of ‘organization of exit’ to capture the entire planning of the plantation families to exit the plantation based on the ‘migration decisions’ made. The organization of exit shows the differentiated approaches were undertaken by the labour families and it can be best explained by narrowing the focus on the family unit as a catalyst to organise migration. The struggle to consolidate their material positions and their limited resources – material and non- material – is critical in understanding the outmigration process. We showed that migration from plantation was a gradual process and was not a sudden knee-jerk reaction to the risks of plantation work and living.
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 2 July 2020)
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