In this talk, I examine seasonal labor migration in rural western India to understand gender negotiations in the course of labor migration. Based on qualitative research conducted in rural western India in 2014 and 2015–16, I examine gendered labor in migrant home communities and at various rural and urban employment destinations, the relationship of labor to the social construction of masculinities, and gender negotiations across space. I show that in their home communities, the politics of resistance of returnee laborers can be understood by examining how returnee men deploy ‘protest masculinities’ to subvert claims on their body and labor by elite men. Second, I find that rural workplaces are the preferred choice of destination for migrant women; a choice that migrant men find reasonable because rural destinations are already gendered as spaces conducive for social reproduction and discursively constructed in the same terms as the idealized woman subject.
About Dr. Rai:
Pronoy Rai is an assistant professor of International and Global Studies and an affiliated faculty in Geography and Asian Studies at Portland State University. He received his Ph. D. in Geography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018, where he wrote his dissertation on the social geographies of seasonal labor migration in rural western India. Rai was awarded the 2019 J. Warren Nystrom Award by the American Association of Geographers for the best paper based on a dissertation in Geography and his research has received support from the Social Science Research Council, the University of Illinois, and Portland State University.