Urbanity, Precarity, and Homeland Activism. Burmese Migrants in Global Cities.

10 September 2019

This article interrogates the link between urbanity and ‘precarity of place’ for non-citizen populations, relying on evidence drawn from the transnational homeland activities of Burmese migrants in two global cities (Bangkok and Tokyo). First, the article builds upon literatures of precarity and global cities to detail the complexity of urban spaces in relation to migration, and draws upon understandings of political mobilisation to explain homeland activism among non-citizen populations. It then focuses respectively on Bangkok and Tokyo, demonstrating the ways in which migrants from Burma of varying precarity utilise or forgo urban structures in each city. The article concludes that precarity does not necessarily reduce homeland activism, but may change its outward appearance. Urban structures, to a greater or lesser extent, influence that relationship.