Rationalities and Images Underlying Labour Migration from Bangladesh to Malaysia



Most studies of temporary labour migration use economic models or examine the economic rationales of migrants to explain why people are moving. Although in migration research new approaches and perspectives have been introduced lately, temporary labour migration, especially in the global South, is still defined primarily as purely economic in nature. This article concentrates on the migrants and their rationalities for migrating, their networks as well as their perceptions and interpretations of the situation they are confronted with abroad to argue that concentrating solely on economic aspects means to lose sight of the tremendous role images and myths about migration in general and receiving countries in particular do play. Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia, who have contributed to the remarkable economic success of the country during the last decades, are in the focus. The construction of the images and the role networks play within these processes will be analysed using data gathered from field research in both settings. Of special interest in this context is the construction of a Muslim brotherhood between the countries for an understanding of the migration flows. This article intends to broaden the current discussions on temporary labour migration by analysing not only the different motives and rationalities but relating them to the constructed images in the new spaces that temporary labour migration has constituted. This important link is missing so far in studies on this global phenomenon.