We are looking for Research staff and field researchers for a project funded by ICSSR entitled "Constructing the Nation: An Ethnographic Account of Migrant Labour on Indo-Tibetan Border Roads."

Timelines: The fieldwork will take place in three locations and time-frames:
1) Jharkhand: May 2014
2) Jammu: May 2014
3) Lahaul-Spiti and Ladakh: June-July 2014

Brief description of the Project: The objective of the project is to theorize national identity in the context of seasonal/circular migration to the border areas of India. The idea is to expand the understanding of circular migration from a mere movement of labour/bodies in space, to a flow of ideas, meanings and identities. If we are to fully understand the meanings of migration and its impact we need to study the linkages between the cultural dynamics of labour movement, the symbolic aspects of their work and the political-economic processes that accompany their mobility. This project aims to bring the above aspects together through an ethnographic account of the processes of road construction in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. The particular focus will be on the oral histories and narratives of the circular migrants that travel from UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orrissa and Nepal every summer to participate in the task of constructing, maintaining and rebuilding the roads for the Border Roads Organization (BRO).

Research questions:

  • What experiences characterize 'life on the road' for the circular migrants?

  • How do identities of caste, gender, regional and national identity shift in space and time as the circular migrants travel from Jharkhand to Himachal and back?

  • What theories can we develop to explain the relationship between construction of identity and circular migration?

  • What overlaps/contradictions emerge within dominant discourses of nationalism, development and defense; and the real life experiences of the circular migrants?

  • How can policy be made more sensitive to the seasonal movements of rural populations?

Essential Qualifications: The right candidate will have experience conducting fieldwork including interviews. The candidate should have keen interest in reading texts in social theory and have experience with academic writing. We are looking for Field investigators for December and then again from May-July and Research Associates and Assistants for a 8 month appointment beginning February. Candidates will be required to appear for an interview.

Walk in-interviews on February 3rd at 10am in Academic Block, IISER Mohali. Interested candidates are required to send in a CV and confirm their attendance prior to the walk-in-interview.

For further information or to apply please contact Anu Sabhlok
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