Choosing to Stay: (Im)Mobility Decisions Amongst Mongolia’s Ethnic Kazakhs
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© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. One of the defining characteristics of globalization is the increased flow of migrants across international borders. Fluctuating migration flows in rural communities of the Global South have the potential to significantly contribute to or undermine the livelihoods of local residents. Households that choose not to migrate, that remain immobile, play a key role in sustaining rural communities. Migration studies in the Global South, however, have largely neglected these households. Utilizing questionnaire and life history interview data collected between 2006 and 2009, we examine immobility amongst the Kazakh ethnic minority population in rural Mongolia. Our findings challenge the dichotomous portrayal of immobile households as either ‘left behind’ or ‘embedded’ within their community, providing evidence that immobility decisions are both fluid and flexible and require more interrogation from scholars. Our findings help broaden the social and cultural context in which immobility studies are conducted and the characterization of immobility amongst non-migrant populations. More broadly, this study contributes to our understanding of the implications to livelihood sustainability in rural communities.
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