Jim Glassman and Young-Jin Choi
Poetry, Translation, Chineseness
Burmese Labour Migration to Malaysia
Anja K. Franck, Emanuelle Brandström Arellano and Joseph Trawicki Anderson
Recent research on the ‘migration industry’ has provided a means to interrogate how private actors come to be used as a means to facilitate, direct and control migration. Both through incorporating private actors into security functions and outsourcing certain functions to labour brokers, the use of migration industry actors is an important part of the ways in which the state works to maintain its sovereign control over territory and the ways people move across it. Yet this is not the only way in which migration industry actors are used. Instead, private actors also play a key role for migrants, although attention towards how migrants themselves perceive and use these actors during the migration process has received far less attention. Using timelines of migrant trajectories from Burma/Myanmar to Malaysia, the following study therefore sets out to map the private actors involved in the migrants’ projects to travel to and stay in Malaysia—and to investigate how these actors are strategically used by migrants as a means to increase their room to manoeuvre during the migration process. In approaching this, the study combines literature on the privatisation and commercialisation of international migration with scholarship on migration trajectories and migrant agency. Empirically the study builds upon fieldwork conducted in the Burmese migrant community in the city of George Town in northern Malaysia.