Footnotes and citations are not possible every time one writes anything as ‘the field’ is the basis of understanding of a phenomenon. I understand that the political economy of knowledge production is based on citations, but let’s not limit understanding to that particular framing.
Migration can’t be studied by literature review and secondary press articles. It is deeply understood by someone who has been a second generation migrant himself.
Reading Prof Devika Charla’s book on Performance and Post Coloniality resonates with me as writing is deeply personal and performance. I started writing in the first year of engineering from a place of insecurity and a feeling of breaking out dominated my thoughts as I was an uncomfortable engineering student in Muscat weighed down by the burden of grades, and that Baba was breathing down my neck that he would send me back to Mumbai to a mediocre college if I failed in a subject. I rather did very well thanks to fear. A child of Gulf knowledge workers, with a Probashi Bangal Mum and a Bihari Father from Shantiniketan, stories of migration with it’s precarity dominated by existence. Thirty odd years of living in insecurity, with a shaky conception of home, does not make me a migration scholar with publications and a PhD scholarship, but as I document voices of migrants over the past few years, I have realised common fears. Such documentation becomes a performance as hardly anyone writes about the gulf workers, and it’s a small community of GCC centric scholars. Gulf migrants are too pre occupied my our immediate fears to write anything, leave alone food pictures on Instagram.
However the migrant story on the converse is a trap, as can be seen from the migrant worker culture scene in Singapore as reducing lives in to a caricature does not add to the story as well.