Beyond Push-Pull Dichotomy: Dynamics of Rural-Urban Migration in Bangladesh

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Seminarraum Geschichte 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Main UDDIN, Tallinn University, Estonia, Jagannath University, Bangladesh
Nasir UDDIN, Chittagong University, Bangladesh
Rural-urban migration has always been considered in both academia and public domain within a very stereotyping dichotomy of prediction: lack of opportunities at moving ends and relatively better scopes in receiving ends, which provides academics with the theoretical underpinning of push-pull factors. Most of the existing studies in Bangladesh also considered rural-urban migration as the resultant outcome of push-pull factors since conditionality against job opportunities in rural areas and mounting new scopes in urban centres determine the migration pattern. But this paper sheds light beyond this conventionality of understanding migration arguing that the capacity to aspire (Appadurai, 1991) and articulation of desire (Kearney, 2004) are instrumental behind rural-urban migration in developing countries particularly in Bangladesh. The paper has been prepared based on ethnographic data collected through year-long intensive fieldwork among the migrant labours in Dhaka. The empirical data challenged the conventional ‘push-pull’ dichotomy and revealed that many more reasons are in operation behind migration other than mere push and pull factors and sometimes those work in the frontline. Unlike the exiting studies in Bangladesh, this paper illustrates that many individuals temporarily migrate to Dhaka for continuing study what has been stopped due to family’s inability to provide financial support, for retaining the desire of romantic relations, for escaping law enforcing agencies for some unruly deeds, for accumulating capital for doing business in rural area in future, for managing capital to go abroad, for managing marriage cost of migrants’ daughter(s) or for repaying the loan borrowed under some unavoidable circumstances. Besides, some people migrate to Dhaka to uplift their social positioning as Dhaka has become a symbol of high status as it is the capital of Bangladesh. In this way, this paper explores and explains many growing factors beyond push-pull orthodoxies to unearth the dynamics of rural-urban migration in Bangladesh.