ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Returning to the Histories of the Late 19th and Early 20th Century Immigration

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were a period of globalisation when migration controls were put in place. As at present, then too, control of migrant labour was not the concern of governments alone. Employers, recruitment agents, labour brokers in sending and receiving countries, lawyers, courts, training institutes, moneylenders and other credit agencies, smugglers and a wide variety of intermediaries sought to gain from the transnational flow of workers. If the earlier period of globalisation marked by industrial capitalism called for massive supply of labour forming its underbelly, the present globalisation marked by unprecedented financialisation of capital and other resources calls for similar supply of labour forming the underbelly of the beast today.

This is the revised text of a lecture, “Returning to the Histories of Immigration in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century” at the India-China Institute, New School of Social Research, December 2013; my acknowledgements go to Mark Frazier, Ashok Gurung, Victoria Hattam, and Paula Banerjee.

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