About the GLMN

Labor migration is a vast, global, and highly fluid phenomenon in the 21st century. There are more labor migrants working in areas beyond their birth country or region than ever before. According to the United Nations, 232 million people, more than 3% of the world’s population, are living today outside their country of citizenship. More than half of these are migrant workers. If we include internal labor migrants, the numbers soar much higher.


Labor migration is not only a pressing social issue; it is also a growing area of scholarship and research in a wide variety of disciplines. In sociology, anthropology, public health, education, and public policy, there is renewed and energetic attention to labor migration. And global labor migration concerns not only social scientists but also humanities scholars. Historians are lavishing attention on the journeys of those who moved to make their living, whether under conditions of coercion, such as slaves or indentured laborers, or voluntarily. From the Irish and Chinese who laid railroad tracks in the 19th century, to contemporary Filipina care workers, or South Asians building soccer arenas, labor migrants’ experiences form a major concern for humanities and social science scholars alike. 

Because today global labor migration is shaping the lives of millions, and because it is receiving unprecedented attention by scholars, the time is right for an international and interdisciplinary scholarly network. This network unites social scientists and humanities scholars because connecting the work being done on labor migration in the contemporary world with those historicizing the phenomenon will lend the project much power, insight, and cross-fertilization. It involves scholars from diverse parts of the globe because only that will fully illuminate the continuities and contrasts facing diverse workers, while also allowing for global exchange about the range of intellectual cultures and methodologies available for expanding knowledge on this topic. This project will bring international attention to one of the world’s most pressing issues, generate scholarly dialogue and new research agendas, and propose policies that can improve conditions for migrants.

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