Migrant workers enchanted with consumer society: transnationalism and global consumer culture in Bangladesh
Naoto HIGUCHI and Nanako INABA
ABSTRACT This article reconsiders the relationship between transnationalism from above and from below, focusing on the consumer behavior of migrant workers. Though transnationalism from below may be regarded as positive resistance to dependence on nation-states and global capital, it also facilitates incorporation into global consumer cultures. This article reports how Bangladeshi return migrants have been enchanted by consumer practices in industrialized countries and have transmitted them into Bangladesh. Return migrants bring consumption habits as well as savings and remittances from industrialized countries. Returnees consequently spread consumer culture to their homelands efficiently, promoting the penetration of global capital and further migration.
KEYWORDS: Japan, migration, consumerism, Asian middle class
Naoto Higuchi is an associate professor of sociology at University of Tokushima, Japan. He is co-author and editor of the following books in Japanese: Reflexive Modernization and Political Change (2008), Crossing Borders: Sociological Analysis of Muslims in Japan (2007), Invisible Residents: Japanese Brazilians vis-à-vis State, Market and Immigrant Network (2005), Sociology of Social Movement (2004), Social Movements in the Public Sphere (2004).
Nanako Inaba is an associate professor at faculty of humanities of Ibaraki University. She is a member at the Division of International Human Rights of Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan. She is a board member of Kalakasan, Migrant Women Empowerment Center where she is charged in the feminist participatory action research. Her writings include Crossing Borders: Sociological Analysis of Muslim Migrants in Japan (2007), Social Movement and Public Sphere (2004).