Departure Avenues: The Politics of (Anti-) Trafficking and Emigration Control in Nepal


Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


This thesis foregrounds the experiences of people on the move for labour employment from a ‘trafficking prone’ area of Nepal, amidst the politics of (anti-) trafficking and emigration control. Drawing on 48 stories of mobility from participatory action research conducted from November 2017 to May 2018, I propose a conceptual framework of departure avenues as spatial and temporal trajectories produced during the actualisation of mobility decisions. Departure avenues offer a situated analysis of encounters between people navigating their international mobility and forces of control operating through a variety of actors and institutions restraining such mobility. The conceptualisation draws upon and speaks to the literature of new mobilities paradigm, the autonomy of migration, migration trajectories, critical (anti-) trafficking and critical border studies by demonstrating a mutually constitutive relationship between mobility and control practices.

In particular, departure avenues show how (anti-) trafficking discourses in Nepal enable forces of control to configure several forms of bordering which delays or denies labour mobility of the research participants. As a result, we observe a variety of individual and collective mobility struggles along the departure avenues. These mobility struggles also signify the spectrum of mobility practices exceeding control practices. I uncover these dynamic shapes the excess of mobility over control take through the conceptualisation of escape mobilities. Escape mobilities are contingent configurations of interdependent mobilities employed by people upon their encounters with specific forms of borders. I empirically show how forces of control rescale and respatialise its existing bordering configurations in an attempt to highlight, capture, control, and digest these escape mobilities which sometimes disrupt the bordering attempts. I show modulations in mobility and control practices to make a broader argument of co-constitution of mobility and control.
Original languageEnglish
TypePhD Thesis
PublisherDurham University
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2021


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