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Title: Migratory livelihoods in Vietnam : vulnerability and the role of migrant networks
Author: Winkels, Alexandra.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3570 8066
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2004
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This thesis addresses a gap in the understanding of migrant networks in migrant livelihood vulnerability. To date there has not been a systematic analysis of migration as a livelihood activity that both enables households to manage risks while also representing a source of risk itself. This limits the understanding of migration as a livelihood activity. Vulnerability in this thesis is defined as a function of household capability, risk exposure and the outcome of managing risk. Migrant networks are a resource for migrant households that influences their capability to manage risks by channelling information and support, by providing adaptation mechanisms, and through providing linkages between sending community and migrant. Migratory livelihoods are explored through examination of rural to rural migration between lowland and upland Vietnam. Giao Thuy District is a migrant sending area in the densely populated Red River Delta in the North, while Cat Tien National Park is a destination area located at the Central Highland frontier that is characterised by continuous in-migration and a growing export oriented agro-economy primarily in coffee. Data were collected through household surveys and semi-structured interviews to examine how migrant networks function in three different stages of the migration process. These are (a) migration decision making, (b) adaptation to new conditions, and (c) managing economic uncertainty in the destination. The research demonstrates that migrant networks have positive effects on migrant livelihood vulnerability by facilitating diversification of income earning activities. They also exacerbate migrant livelihood vulnerability through exposing households to additional risk. Resources transferred through migrant networks lower the costs and risks of migration, thereby enabling households to use migration as an asset accumulation or as a risk coping strategy. However, as a greater range of households are able to move, the rapid chain migration from similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds results in negative impacts on the economic, social, and environmental context in the Central Highlands which in turn reduces resource availability for migrants. Migrants who invest capital into coffee farming do so in an environment of high global market variability and a poorly developed social welfare system. In order to draw on additional resources to manage these uncertainties, migrants maintain links to household members in the sending community. However, while the pooling of resources among network members enables migrants to mitigate, and cope with, economic shocks in the destination, it also transfers these risks to network members in the sending area. These findings indicate that migration as a livelihood activity can potentially increase the vulnerability to losses of welfare of both secure and coping migrant households, particularly when migrants rely on migrant networks as a safety net. The analysis of migrant networks in migratory livelihoods enables a more nuanced understanding of the benefits and dangers of diverse and multi-local livelihoods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available