Personalising the Middle-Income Trap: An Inter-generational Migrant View from Rural Thailand – a seminar by Prof Jonathan Rigg (Wed, 19 March 2014)

Speaker: Prof Jonathan Rigg (Department of Geography, National University of Singapore) 
 Wednesday, 19 March 2014 
 4:00pm – 5:30pm 
 AS3, Level 6, SEAS Seminar Room (06-20) 
 Assoc Prof Itty Abraham

Using the experiences of first and second generation migrants from three villages in Thailand, this paper ‘personalises’ the middle income trap, seeking to understand how and why migrants with growing levels of education and human capital remain rooted to their natal villages. Agrarian change is such that the village remains the locus of familial belonging and livelihood security, limiting engagement with the knowledge economy, sometimes for good reason given the precarity of much non-farm work . The argument pursued is that the middle-income trap for these villages in Thailand is as much personal as it is institutional and structural.

About the speaker 
Jonathan Rigg is Professor at the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore. He has been working in Thailand and more widely in Southeast Asia since the early 1980s, mainly on issues of agrarian change. He is interested in understanding how individuals and households deal with, contribute to, and are affected by processes of economic and social transformation. His most recent book is Unplanned development: tracking change in South-East Asia (Zed Books 2012), and he has also recently co-edited (with Peter Vandergeest) Revisiting rural places: pathways to poverty and prosperity in Southeast Asia (NUS and Hawaii University Press, 2012), which includes 16 longitudinal studies from across Southeast Asia, five from Thailand.