Brain gain? High-skilled migrants, emotional citizenship, and multi-level engagement policies in South Asia and in Europe
Ellen Bal (VU University Amsterdam)
Kate Kirk (VU University Amsterdam)
Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff (Asian Development Research Institute, Patna, Bihar, India)
Start time:
23 July, 2014 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel examines multi-level government policies in Europe and South Asia that seek to establish emotional engagement with South Asian skilled migrants. It assesses the impact of such policy efforts on migrants and questions to what extent these policies are successful.

Long abstract:

The growing economic and political clout of the highly skilled South Asian diaspora has led central and local governments in South Asia and in Europe to develop policies that seek to establish emotional engagement with these migrants in order to bind them to either 'the motherland' or their European home through 'emotional citizenship'. This panel seeks to examine to what extent these policies are successful in attenuating South Asia's elite brain drain or establishing lasting connections between migrants and their place of destination. This panel moves beyond methodological nationalism by examining efforts to (materially and emotionally) connect highly skilled migrants to a particular place at the central, sub-national and municipal level, both in South Asia and in Europe. Within a global/neoliberal framework, governments have been forced to compete globally for niche sectors of labor, encouraging the courting of specific segments of highly skilled migrants. Such efforts assume a link between migration and development, and represent an attempt to stem the brain drain and convert into ´brain gain´ or ´brain circulation´. We invite contributions with an ethnographic focus on migrants´ experience(s) of migration policies (in South Asian and in Europe) as well as papers that discuss these policies and question the equation of migration with development.