Publication : Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India

 Nair Sreelekha, Moving with the Times. Gender, Status and Migration of Nurses in India. New Delhi : Routledge, 2012

« This book is an attempt to penetrate the silence that surrounds the lives of nurses as migrant women. It offers a perceptive understanding of the trials faced specifically by women from the state of Kerala, in their personal and professional spheres, in the challenges posed to single women migrants as such, and the lower status ascribed to the job. In highlighting aspects of their lived experiences, it reveals how the identities of gender, class and ethnicity unmask the realities behind claims of egalitarianism and equal citizenship. Nurses from Kerala form one of the largest groups of migrant women workers in the international service sector along with Filipinos and Sri Lankans. Comparatively better salaries, work opportunities and financial independence, along with a desire to travel across the world, are often the reasons behind these migrations. For many of these women, the professional choice of nursing is usually the first step towards migration, while finding employment in Delhi, the urban capital of India, is intended as a transition point before they migrate abroad, a trajectory which may remain unrealised. In focusing on nurses who choose to work in Delhi, the author recounts how the patriarchy of the original place is recreated and relived in destination cities. In as much as traditional stigmatisation of nursing (as a ‘dirty’ profession), deeply entrenched gender prejudices, and status and role anxieties act as deterrents, these women remain undaunted in the face of adversities and treat their exposure to, and experience of, technology and nursing care in the bigger hospitals in Delhi as part of the training that is required to apply abroad. Through extensive empirical research, case studies and personal interviews, Moving with the Times illustrates nurses’ lives in Delhi, providing an account of the dynamics — between traditional patriarchy, norms and associated identities, low professional status and marginality coupled at once with the sense of personal freedom, a new career and space — that migration compels these women to negotiate. This book will appeal to scholars of sociology, gender and women’s studies, nursing and healthcare, and those interested in migration and identities. »

Contents :

« Introduction 

1. Beyond Well-being: Development of Nursing as a Modern Profession in Kerala

2.Status of Nursing: The Sword of Damocles?

3. Choice of Nursing: A Life Strategy

4. Migration: Delhi as a Transit Residence

5. Reconstructing Identities: Diasporic Politics and Gender in Delhi 

Conclusion « 

Books: Indian and Chinese Engineers in the Silicon Valley

Anna Lee Saxenian, Yasuyuki Motoyama, Xiaohong Quan, Local and global networks of immigrant professionals in Silicon Valley. San Francisco : Public Policy Institute of California, 2002. 

« Foreign-born entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are becoming agents of global economic change, and their increased mobility is fueling the emergence of entrepreneurial networks in distant locations. In this report, AnnaLee Saxenian investigates this development by drawing on the first large-scale survey of foreign-born professionals in Silicon Valley. Focusing on first-generation Indian and Chinese immigrants, the report compares their participation in local and global networks both to one another and to that of native-born professionals. The results indicate that local institutions and social networks within ethnic communities are more important than national or individual characteristics in explaining entrepreneurial behavior. The report also suggests that the so-called brain drain from India and China has been transformed into a more complex, two-way process of « brain circulation » linking Silicon Valley to urban centers in those countries. » 

 

Bernard P. Wong, The Chinese in Silicon Valley. Globalization, Social Networks, and Ethnic Identity. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2005.

« The Chinese in Silicon Valley examines the complex and ever-growing role of Chinese American scientists and engineers in Silicon Valley. Globalization brings workers from many different countries and cultures together, impacting more than just their work environments. The Chinese who settle in Silicon Valley must learn to prosper despite changes in cultural identity, family life, and often citizenship. They learn how to utilize new social networks and make sense of a shifting ethnic identity. The Chinese community in Silicon Valley is being developed with the advantages and constraints of many factors: the new global economy, technology, the Chinese immigrants’ traditional culture, and the American host culture. Bernard Wong shows that the formation of Chinese American ethnic identity and community is a result of this globalization and transnationalism. This informative book presents important new knowledge on the connection between Chinese ethnicity and highly-skilled labor and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. Secondary statistical data combined with primary personal interview data makes this a detailed and interesting study of globalization, social networks, and ethnic identity. »

 

Shenglin Chang, The Global Silicon Valley Home. Lives and Landscapes within Taiwanese American Transpacific Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.

« The economic boom of the 1990s that led to the rapid rise of computer hardware and software companies (on both sides of the Pacific Rim) also led to the rise of a trans-Pacific commuter culture, a culture in which thousands of Taiwanese-born high-tech engineers realized that they could greatly increase their career opportunities by establishing a life-style that allowed them and their families to regularly commute between two homes, one in Silicon Valley and the other in Taiwan. The Global Silicon Valley Home takes a close look at how participants in the jet-set, wired-to-the-Net, trans-Pacific commuter culture have invented new ways of thinking about how their homes reflect their personal identities. »

 

See Also:

Anna Lee Saxenian Silicon Valley’ s new immigrant entrepreneurs. San Francisco : Public Policy Institute of California, 1999.

S. S. Kshastriy. Silicon Valley greats. Indians who made a difference to technology and the world. Delhi : Vikas, 2003.

Books: Engineers Abroad

Devesh Kapur, Diaspora, Development, and Democracy: The Domestic Impact of International Migration from India, Princeton: NJ, Princeton University Press, 2010

 » What happens to a country when its skilled workers emigrate? The first book to examine the complex economic, social, and political effects of emigration on India, Diaspora, Development, and Democracy provides a conceptual framework for understanding the repercussions of international migration on migrants’ home countries.

Devesh Kapur finds that migration has influenced India far beyond a simplistic « brain drain »–migration’s impact greatly depends on who leaves and why. The book offers new methods and empirical evidence for measuring these traits and shows how data about these characteristics link to specific outcomes. For instance, the positive selection of Indian migrants through education has strengthened India’s democracy by creating a political space for previously excluded social groups. Because older Indian elites have an exit option, they are less likely to resist the loss of political power at home. Education and training abroad has played an important role in facilitating the flow of expertise to India, integrating the country into the world economy, positively shaping how India is perceived, and changing traditional conceptions of citizenship. The book highlights a paradox–while international migration is a cause and consequence of globalization, its effects on countries of origin depend largely on factors internal to those countries.

A rich portrait of the Indian migrant community, Diaspora, Development, and Democracy explores the complex political and economic consequences of migration for the countries migrants leave behind. »

Devesh Kapur is associate professor of political science and holds the Madan Lal Sobti Professorship for the Study of Contemporary India at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

Xiang Biao, Global « Body Shopping »: An Indian Labor System in the Information Technology Industry, Princeton: NJPrinceton University Press, 2006

« How can America’s information technology (IT) industry predict serious labor shortages while at the same time laying off tens of thousands of employees annually? The answer is the industry’s flexible labor management system–a flexibility widely regarded as the modus operandi of global capitalism today. Global « Body Shopping » explores how flexibility and uncertainty in the IT labor market are constructed and sustained through concrete human actions.

Drawing on in-depth field research in southern India and in Australia, and folding an ethnography into a political economy examination, Xiang Biao offers a richly detailed analysis of the India-based global labor management practice known as « body shopping. » In this practice, a group of consultants–body shops–in different countries works together to recruit IT workers. Body shops then farm out workers to clients as project-based labor; and upon a project’s completion they either place the workers with a different client or « bench » them to await the next placement. Thus, labor is managed globally to serve volatile capital movement.

Underpinning this practice are unequal socioeconomic relations on multiple levels. While wealth in the New Economy is created in an increasingly abstract manner, everyday realities–stock markets in New York, benched IT workers in Sydney, dowries in Hyderabad, and women and children in Indian villages–sustain this flexibility. »

 

Binod Khadria, The Migration of Knowledge Workers. Second-Generation Effects of India’s Brain Drain, New Delhi, Sage Publications, 1999

« This book encourages strategies for turning the « brain drain » of educated professionals to India’s advantage.

Binod Khadria argues that « first generation » losses of human resources from India can be compensated by making use of the finance, technology and manpower of Indian expatriates. In this way, the long-term average productivity of workers at home can be raised helping make good gross domestic product losses — the « second generation » effects of brain drain. »

 

 

 

 

 See Also:

Binod Khadria, Migration of Highly Skilled Indians: Case Studies of IT and Health Professionals. STI Working Papers 6, April. Paris, OECD, 2004. Available here

Roli Varma, Harbingers of Global Change. India’s Techno-Immigrants, Maryland, Lexington Books, 2006

Book: « Body Shopping » in ICT India

Xiang Biao, Global « Body Shopping »: An Indian Labor System in the Information Technology Industry, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2006

“How can America’s information technology (IT) industry predict serious labor shortages while at the same time laying off tens of thousands of employees annually? The answer is the industry’s flexible labor management system–a flexibility widely regarded as the modus operandi of global capitalism today. Global « Body Shopping » explores how flexibility and uncertainty in the IT labor market are constructed and sustained through concrete human actions.

Drawing on in-depth field research in southern India and in Australia, and folding an ethnography into a political economy examination, Xiang Biao offers a richly detailed analysis of the India-based global labor management practice known as « body shopping. » In this practice, a group of consultants–body shops–in different countries works together to recruit IT workers. Body shops then farm out workers to clients as project-based labor; and upon a project’s completion they either place the workers with a different client or « bench » them to await the next placement. Thus, labor is managed globally to serve volatile capital movement.

Underpinning this practice are unequal socioeconomic relations on multiple levels. While wealth in the New Economy is created in an increasingly abstract manner, everyday realities–stock markets in New York, benched IT workers in Sydney, dowries in Hyderabad, and women and children in Indian villages–sustain this flexibility.”

 

Review: Salaam America

Aminah-Mohammad-Arif, Salaam America: South Asian Muslims in New York. London: Anthem Press, 2002. 355 pages.

Review by Pierre Gottschlich

In: Internationales Asienforum. 35 (2004), 3-4, pp. 373-375.

The South Asian Diaspora and especially the Indian-American community in the United States of America have received more academic attention during the last decade. The remarkably good education of this group, its quick economic success, and its perceived interior unity have made it not only a “model minority” as far as its adaptation into the socioeconomic environment of the U.S. is concerned, but also a more and more active and visible player in cultural and political affairs of the host country. Consequently, the last years have seen a couple of in-depth studies of certain parts of the community. Most if not all of these works, however, have focused on Hindu and, in part, Sikh immigrants to the United States. The large number of Indian Muslims that have come to America has widely been ignored. Aminah Mohammad-Arif’s study attempts to fill this gap of in-depth knowledge and is, therefore, from its mere intention alone of great value.

Although the author has conducted interviews with members of the Indian Muslim community all over the U.S., the main focus of her work is the New York metropolitan area. This region has been the setting of different other studies of the Indian-American community such as, for example, the books by Johanna Lessinger (1995) and Madhulika S. Khandelwal (2002) and provides, hence, a well-tested ground for academic research. In contrast to other works Mohammad-Arif concentrates on a special group within the community, a minority’s minority, and, thereby, obviously breaks with the myth of a uniform Indian-American origin, culture, or identity.

The book is divided into four parts. The first main section, “From the Indian Subcontinent to America”, starts with a chapter on the historical development of Islam in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Here, Mohammad-Arif describes the different Muslim traditions of Sunni, Shi’a, and Ahmadiyya in South Asia, thereby laying the foundation necessary for an understanding of intra-community dynamics in the United States. Since the South Asian Muslims in the U.S. represent a “microcosm of the Muslim population of the subcontinent” (p. 19), a short introduction to their original internal divisions is not only helpful, but essential. The second chapter focuses on the economic and demographic profile of the South Asian immigrant community in the United States. Besides a brief historical description, this section offers insights into issues like “Marriage and divorce” (p. 39ff) or “Ethnic business” (p. 42ff). Unfortunately, the statistics presented do rely heavily on the 1990 U.S. Census of Population, which renders several numbers obsolete. Nevertheless, this chapter proves to be very informative, especially because of the personal views presented in numerous interviews.

The second main part of Mohammad-Arif’s work deals with the process of adaptation to the new environment. The first chapter of this section concentrates on the role and importance of religion and religious practices for the South Asian Muslim community. Here, Mohammad-Arif successfully links theoretical aspects of religiosity to the specific framework of Islam and to the day-to-day performance of religious duties by the members of the community. She also includes many controversial issues such as the Muslim diet (p. 63ff) or the oftentimes questioned obligation of Muslim women to wear the veil (p. 66ff). These critical points of South Asian Muslim religiosity are described in context of their relation not only to the host society but also to Islam in general, since many features of Islam on the Indian subcontinent show remarkable differences to their Arab or African counterparts. In the following chapter, Mohammad-Arif explores the problems and challenges for the second generation members of the community. Their “’masala’ identity” (p. 84) between the religious, cultural, and social traditions of their parents and the everyday struggle for acceptance in school and work life is of prime importance to the community as a whole and certainly deserves the attention the author has devoted to it.

The third part of the book, “Redefining Islam”, investigates Islamic institutions and movements in the United States and their relations and adaptations to the host society. On the institutional side, Mohammad-Arif works with many well-researched and very informative, although possibly not necessarily representative, case studies of different mosques, Islamic centers, and Islamic schools. As for Islamic movements, she thoroughly describes two of the most important groups, namely the “Muslim Student Association (MSA)” and the “Islamic Circle of North America (INCA)”. These and other transnational operating movements and associations, as Mohammad-Arif clearly shows, do reflect the high degree of organization a well-educated immigrant group like the South Asian population can achieve (p. 189ff). The concluding part exclusively deals with the relationships of the South Asian Muslim community with others. In the first chapter of this section, the author returns to the idea of an immigrant community being a microcosm, but applies this concept to the whole Muslim world. According to Mohammad-Arif, the United States might see the “emergence of a ‘utopian umma’” (p. 193) reflecting an aspired unified Islam despite the internal diversity of the Muslim population in the U.S. Recent trends suggest the possible forming of a “pan-Islamic melting pot” (p. 206), a development that is fostered by the growing use of modern communication technology. The following chapter explores the oftentimes difficult relations between South Asian Muslims and Hindus in the light of events like the Ayodhya crisis (p. 214ff) and assesses the possibilities of a common South Asian identity. In the last chapter of this section, Mohammad-Arif turns to questions of integration into the host society, dealing with matters of mutual perception as well as with stereotypes and mechanism of discrimination. Hereby, she also touches on lobbying efforts by the community in order to raise awareness and acceptance, a point that seems to be becoming more and more important and may encourage further research. The book closes with a summarizing conclusion that reconstructs the main lines of argumentation in a straight manner.

Since the original, French version of this book was published in 2000, the consequences of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have not been included in the main body of the work. Because of the prime importance of the challenges posed by this tragic event to the South Asian Muslim community, the author has added an afterword, written in February 2002. Here, Mohammad-Arif reflects on the immediate impact the terrorist strikes had on the community and discusses some of the first implications. The book also contains a glossary of the most important terms and an extensive bibliography. The statistical appendix is, at least in part, outdated, which is largely due to the fact that the South Asian Diaspora in the United States is one of the fastest growing and dynamically changing ethnic groups in the U.S.

Overall, Salaam America provides a valuable and readable source of information on a subject that has not received much attention yet. Aminah Mohammad-Arif has very successfully combined a thorough analysis of the South Asian Muslim population with indepth interviews of individual members of this community that convincingly support the author’s arguments. The relatively narrow regional scope proves to be advantageous to the focus of the assessment. Nevertheless, future research may also include more information on the large Indian-American Muslim communities in California, Texas, and Illinois.

Book: Indian Students in the UK before World War II

Sumita Mukherjee, Nationalism, Education and Migrant Identities. The England-returned, London, New York, Routledge, 2009

“This book examines the role western-education and social standing played in the development of Indian nationalism in the early twentieth century. It highlights the influences that education abroad had on a significant proportion of the Indian population. A large number of Indian students – including key figures such as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru – took up prominent positions in government service, industry or political movements after having spent their student years in Britain before the Second World War. Having reaped the benefits of the British educational system, they spearheaded movements in India that sought to gain independence from British rule. The author analyses the long-term impact of this short-term migration on Britain, South Asia and Empire and deals with issues of migrant identities and the ways in which travel shaped ideas about the ‘Self’ and ‘Home’. Through this study of the England-Returned, attention is drawn to contemporary concerns about the politicisation of foreign students and the antecedents of the growing South Asian student population in the USA and Europe today, as well as of Britain’s growing South Asian diaspora.”

Content

“1. Introduction: The « England-Returned » 2. Indian Students in the UK (1900-1947) 3. Images of Britain, India and the « England-Returned » 4. The Social Interactions of the England-Returned 5. The Political Identities of the England-Returned 6. The Careers and Long-Term Impact of the England-Returned 7. Conclusion: The Future for the England-Returned. Notes. Bibliography. Index »

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