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About this book

This book explores the experiences of temporary migrants in the Asia-Pacific region. It develops the original concept of ‘fluid security’ to analyse the way in which persons carry a set of tools, strategies and attitudes across spatial, temporal and imagined borders. This concept applies a mobilities lens to human security in order to take into account the aspirations and needs of mobile populations appropriate for a globalising world. The book brings to light the diverse experiences of mobility and the multiple vulnerabilities experienced by individuals that intersect with, and sometimes challenge, national security domains.
The authors analyse mobility patterns that are diversifying at a rate far outstripping the capacity of governments to adapt to the human security needs of mobile populations. While the idea of global citizenship may be held up as an ideal through which access to rights is not an arbitrary lottery, it remains far from a reality for the majority of migrants. They are excluded from the migratory flows global elites engage in almost at will. This important book advances the idea that mobile individuals can generate their own security when they have agency and the ability to plan; that experiences of security are not necessarily tied to permanence; that mobile populations benefit from policies that support transnational life; and that fluid security is enhanced when individuals are able to carry a bundle of rights with them.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

1. In Search of ‘Fluid Security’: The Outline of a Concept

Abstract
This chapter introduces the key conceptual framework of the book and sets out the problems faced by temporary migrants in Australia that were revealed through the case studies carried out during the course of our research. We consider contemporary migration patterns at both a global and regional level (in the Asia-Pacific region) with reference to key literature on migrant transnationalism, labour mobility and the global market in tertiary education. The discussion explores the tension between mobility and security by considering the nexus of human (in)security, human rights and border control, with reference also to state practices that create insecurity by criminalising some border crossing activities and creating conditions conducive to the exploitation, marginalisation and victimisation of non-citizens.
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

2. Methodology

Abstract
In order to understand the everyday lives and survival strategies of individuals and families with either regular or irregular migration status in Australia, and to identify the various forms of social isolation and exclusion faced by temporary migrants, our research employed a mixed-method approach as its overarching framework (Merton 2009; Creswell and Plano Clark 2007). Büscher and Urry’s articulation of ‘mobile methods’ (2009) and Richter’s evocation of a ‘transnational space’ (2012) also provide configurations important for the present study, where temporariness and permanence, belonging and not belonging sit side by side.
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

3. Chinese Students: Isolated Global Citizens

Abstract
China’s rapid development over the past 30 years has underpinned its emergence not only as a key player in the globalised world but arguably also as the engine room of globalisation in regard to the mobility of goods, services and people. Central to China’s development and globalisation has been the pipeline of Chinese national students exported in the mass tertiary education market. The efficient and effective transformation of student exports into transnational earning actors serves several purposes at home and abroad in relation to family structure, prestige and overcoming gaps in local education provision. International Chinese students provide a direct match for the market needs of western democracies, who increasingly rely on the income provided by international students to make a significant contribution to the funding of universities. While there has seemingly been an alignment between supply and demand in international education, the transformative possibilities for Chinese international students have proven to be rather complicated and precarious across four crucial domains of security.
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

4. Indonesian Temporary Migrants: Australia as First Preference or Last Resort?

Abstract
Large-scale emigrations do not occur in a vacuum but are related to the social and political contexts of the individuals who leave their country of origin for short or long periods. A decade and a half ago, Indonesia was in the grip of political upheaval and economic crisis that manifested as interreligious violence and social instability in many parts of the Indonesian archipelago. The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s in part precipitated this period of instability and violence, with large numbers of workers losing their jobs and the Chinese minority targeted as a scapegoat in some regions. Aside from the economic crisis, other more deeply rooted factors in Indonesia’s history were also contributing influences. The authoritarian oligarchies of Sukarno and General Suharto from 1968 to 1998 continue to have a significant impact on Indonesia’s political culture, though in new, moderated forms (Buehler 2014). The transition to democratic governance is evident in political institutions and the rule of law, but the memories of military dictatorship remain potent for many Indonesians. After General Suharto lost power, Indonesia experienced a period of instability marked by sectarian violence and the rise of radical Muslim groups (Ford and Pepinsky 2014; Pisani 2014; Barton 2001; McGregor 2007). The first direct presidential election was held in 2004, resulting in the election of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was re-elected in 2009. On 20 October 2014, President Joko Widodo was sworn in, representing a departure from rule by Indonesia’s dynastic elite. In contrast to previous political leaders, Widodo is a provincial businessman who ran a furniture business until his rise to prominence as mayor of Surakarta (Solo) and, subsequently, governor of Jakarta (Lindsey 2014).
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

5. Samoan-Born New Zealanders as Trans-Tasman Denizens

Abstract
The traditional Polynesian skill of navigating long sea journeys is legendary. From a Polynesian perspective, the precolonial Pacific was a ‘sea of islands’ within which people moved freely and maintained active social links and trading networks (Lee 2009, citing Hau’ofa 1993a). In effect, the ocean served to connect, rather than divide, the region’s inhabitants. The Samoan word malaga, which is usually translated as ‘travel’ or ‘movement’, has the connotation of moving back and forth (Lilomaiava-Doktor 2009a) in a manner that is now recognised in migration scholarship as circular migration. Malaga was originally undertaken to fulfil fa’alavelave (obligations) to aiga (kin groups) in order to obtain resources to use as gifts to be presented at births, marriages and funerals (Lilomaiava-Doktor 2009a). While the reasons for international travel among Samoans have expanded, contemporary belief systems still embody explicit cultural understandings of the meaning and purpose of mobility that defy neat legal categorisation as either temporary or permanent. As Lilomaiava-Doktor (2009b, p. 64) explains: ‘For Samoans, migration and circulation are not the disparate processes that such categorisation implies. They are part of the dialectic and a different conception of place.’ This different conception of place conceives of malaga in terms of ‘reciprocal flows, irrespective of purpose or duration’.
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

6. Tongan Seasonal Workers: Permanent Temporariness

Abstract
Migrant transnationalism has dominated the Tongan national experience since the 1960s, when the Pacific Islanders’ long history of interisland mobility transformed to become a form of mobility more closely tied to the nation-state and the pursuit of individual, familial and national survival and prosperity (see Pyke et al. 2012). An important feature of the Tongan diaspora is that it is largely a ‘labour diaspora’ (Pyke et al. 2012, p. 5), with temporary and permanent overseas employment opportunities being the predominant drivers of migration (Pyke et al. 2012). However, kinship ties are also important in this diaspora, and they are maintained via the financial ties of remittances sent home by permanent and temporary Tongan migrants (see Lee 2007).
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

7. The Decision to Leave: Processes That Drive Mobility

Abstract
In this chapter we use data from all four case studies to discuss the processes that drive mobility between Australia and the case study countries, focusing on factors that relate to the search for human security. The findings are initially presented separately for each case study, and then general themes are drawn together in the conclusion.
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

8. Reaching Australia: Processes That Mediate Mobility

Abstract
In this chapter we combine the research data from all four case studies to consider the processes that facilitate or hinder temporary migration into Australia and the capacity to stay. The chapter will provide rich qualitative data on the impact of Australian immigration policies on mobile populations and the roles played by a range of actors and by systemic factors that translate, facilitate or impede the operation of these policies. Processes that mediate mobility are discussed initially in relation to each of the case studies, and then common themes and contrasts across the case studies are drawn out in the conclusion.
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

9. Processes of Reception and Inclusion in Australia

Abstract
In this chapter we focus on the themes that emerged from our interviews with mobile communities about their experiences after arrival in Australia, particularly processes of reception and inclusion. The findings are initially discussed within each of the case studies. The chapter concludes with an overview that identifies common themes and contrasts between the groups.
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

10. Conclusion

Abstract
Temporary migration in its many forms is one of the new challenges of the twenty-first century. The conditions of globalisation unsettle orthodox conceptions of migration and border control, as migrants increasingly operate through transnational networks in which identities and loyalties to nations are more fluid than when people migrate for life (Sassen 2006). New conceptual tools based on regions, networks and fluidity are being adopted to describe these emerging social forms that are constituted through mobility (Urry 2007). These trends are mirrored by fluidity in legal status, so that mobile individuals may move between legality and illegality as well as between temporary and permanent categories (Schuster 2005). While the adage that ‘there is nothing more permanent than temporary foreign workers’ (Bauböck 2011, p. 671) may reflect the concerns of states anxious to limit permanent migration, the contemporary reality falls somewhere between this sedentary vision and the hyper-mobility suggested by the idea of a ‘world in motion’ (Aas 2007). Under the flexible, often chaotic conditions of globalisation, a stark dichotomy between temporary and permanent is no longer sustainable or reflective of human experience and expectations. Rather, mobility patterns are diversifying at a rate that far outstrips the capacity of governments to adapt in order to meet the emerging human security needs of mobile populations.
Claudia Tazreiter, Leanne Weber, Sharon Pickering, Marie Segrave, Helen McKernan

Backmatter

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