Macro and micro links of internal migration in Papua New Guinea : case studies of migration to rural and peri urban Morobe and Eastern Highlands
It has been assumed in this thesis that there are gaps in the various spaces of meaning, understanding, treatment and theorisation of internal migration in Papua New Guinea, at different scales, to have resulted in the contestation of its nature, experience, outcomes and explanations in Papua New Guinea. Internal migration is the most contested aspect of the process of development change and progress in the country because while migration follows the rural-urban path according to conventional...[Show more] expectations, the bulk of experiences and outcomes are of poverty and issues. Yet its relevance and pivotal role in the development process renders it an important issue that requires proper understanding and explanation. This research proposes to fill the spatial knowledge gaps about internal migration at both the micro-level of individuals and households and the macro-level of the economy and society, and at the methodological and theoretical levels. These gaps are rooted in the absence of a holistic explanation of internal migration that properly answers simultaneously the questions of 'what is migration?' and 'who is the migrant?' Thus, it is important that the role and response of both migrants and migration to changes, including social and economic progress, are incorporated in that integrated and holistic explanation. The lack of clarification of the meaning of internal migration has arisen mainly from the ambiguity in the nature of treatment, understanding, and explanation of migration at the societal, methodological and disciplinary levels. At the practical level, migrants are stigmatised as criminals and are considered as not belonging in their places of residence, where they have moved and settled. The unfavourable public view on migrants and migration have influenced State and Provincial Government reactions and planning against migrants and migration. Media reports that blame criminal activities on migrants have contributed to an escalation ofboth emotional and physical reactions against them. However, the National Constitution stipulates that all citizens can move anywhere in the country for the purpose of participating in economic activities, so that internal migration is acceptable and legalised in that sense. The reaction of the society to migration reflects a literary divergence and a philosophical chasm that is rooted in disciplinary traditions of the social sciences. Disciplinary traditions have differentiated between the micro-level study of migrants and macro-level study of migration as mutually exclusive. The freedom of movement guaranteed in the National Constitution reflected the contemporary thinking of the time when the Constitution was written, that migration was necessary for distributing labour to places of industry, employment and high wages. This is the opposite of migration that arises from the conditions found in less economically developed places, and of migrants as poor, unemployed, uneducated and a problem for development and progress. Such explanations highlight the need for an integrated perspective that informs, improves understanding and explains internal migration and that which fill in the knowledge gaps already identified. In turn, this holistic understanding and explanation requires a proper contextualisation of the benefits and costs of migration to society. This thesis argues that the proper context for researching, understanding and explaining internal migration is Papua New Guinea's hybrid socio-economy (Curry 2003), in which there are no clear boundaries between socio-cultural and economic processes of meaning, valuing, experience and practice. It further argues that the integrated methodology is a mixed methods approach that can guide the formulation and implementation of the research design, methodology and research outcome. The ambiguities referred to above imply the need to provide operational definitions of internal migration, migration, and migrant. 'Internal migration' refers to voluntary or involuntary (see 6.4.1) movements of people between different places within the country leading to semi-permanent or permanent residence. This term will be used interchangeably with 'migration'. The term 'migrant' refers to individuals or groups of people who, for a variety of reasons, including economic and social, undertake voluntary and or, involuntary movements between places, leading to semi-permanent or permanent residence. The central focus of this thesis is on 'in-migrants', which may refer to voluntary or involuntary migrants (see Chapter 6), who for a variety of reasons, move into places including rural, urban and peri-urban locations. The economy will be discussed in terms of the national, provincial, district, LLG, village, household and individual levels. 'National' refers to the country as a whole. Province, district, LLG and village refer to the administrative units of governance from largest to the smallest. Household refers to a core nuclear family but may include relatives and non-relatives living with them. The operational definitions provided of internal migration, migration and migrant expose the partiality of exclusive explanations and treatment of internal migration within macro or quantitative and micro or qualitative approaches. At the same time, realisation is made of the need to combine the approaches in terms of a mixed methods research so as to order to capture the effects of the dual economy, which comprises a large subsistence, dominated by social institutions, and a small cash economy. A mixed methods approach, which included both quantitative and qualitative data, was employed in this research (see Chapters 3 and 4) in order to reflect the hybrid socio-economic context in which migration occurs and is experienced. Quantitative methods of data collection used were the 2000 National Census and field surveys of migrant families. A country-wide picture of migration was obtained from an analysis of the National Population Census of 2000, of 5,190,786 individual cases (the total population). These data were transformed into SPSS tables for analyses. Independent variables of age and sex were cross-tabulated against dependent variables of relation to household, highest level of education completed, duration in years of residence, and occupation to determine the relationship between migrant characteristics and economic outcomes for migrants from their migration. In Chapter 3, cross-tabulations are performed of migration data at the level of the province for the whole country. Chapter 4 reports on migration data of the same variables in two case study provinces of Morobe and the Eastern Highlands, down to the level of District, in each province. Survey questionnaires administered during the field work to collect household data on migration and socio-economic variables in the provinces of Morobe and the Eastern Highlands were aimed at clarifying the patterns of the role of families in migration and livelihood outcomes arising from migration. A migrant survey questionnaire (Appendix 1.4.1) was conducted on 50 migrant households with 25 questionnaires in each province, and 50 non-migrant households also with 25 in each province. Migrant households were sampled according to province of origin, age ofhead ofhousehold, occupation and marital status. Only five households composed of either migrant and or non-migrant households were selected in five peri-urban and ten rural villages. These data were analysed in Excel. The results are reported in Chapters 5 and 6. Qualitative methods used to capture the patterns of migrant experiences and livelihood outcomes from migration were observation and participant observation, a travel diary, field notes and in-depth life migration history interviews with individual migrants selected from each of the surveyed households. Observations were conducted at the same time as the administration of the survey questionnaires and in-depth life migration history interviews. A travel diary was kept daily. Field notes also were kept of interesting or unusual anecdotal evidence and experiences of migrants and their livelihood outcomes. Traditional expectations that migration IS the key to accessing social services and economic opportunities are implicated from the study of quantitative data but qualitative data reveal that these expected outcomes from migration are the ideal but the general outcome from migration for the majority of migrants is poverty which includes access and affordability issues (see Chapter 1). Yet, migrants are making intentional decisions and as active participants and agents of change they are the beneficiaries of the social and economic outcomes that result from migration. 'Migration' between locations that results in semi-permanent or permanent change of residence continues to occur and is here to stay. 'Migrants,' who are individuals or groups, including the household, participate both as actors and agents of that change in the process ofmigration to places perceived to offer better economic opportunities and social services. Specific analysis of the quantitative data from the 2000 Census shows that the impact of the economy on migration to rural and peri-urban places is unequal. These sectors of the hybrid or dual economy are dominated by the social institutions which outweigh the impact of the small cash economy. At the urban, peri-urban and roadside places to which migrants move, and which they perceive as offering high levels of employment opportunities, they do not realise the expected social and economic outcomes that might have motivated them to move there. At the macro-level of the national or provincial economies therefore, the majority of migrants tend to have rural social and economic characteristics including no education, a subsistence occupation, a short-term duration of residence, and extended family households. These characteristics are those of poverty (see Chapter 1). Qualitative data collected during fieldwork acquired experiential and livelihood data of migrants arising from the migration experience that have assisted to explain in the Chapters 5 and 6 the causes, effects, outcomes, and behaviour, and the multiple Iuoves of migrants that are an integral aspect of the internal migration experience in PNG. Life histories, household surveys, field notes and observations conducted on rural and peri-urban migrants yielded data that support the important role and relevance of internal migration as a cause and an effect of development change and migrants as active agents of that process and as livelihood participants and beneficiaries in the outcomes. The experience patterns of individual and migrant household provided complementary insights about the relationship between internal, migration and the development process in the country. As a development process, migrants move to access services, sources of cash incoine such as markets, employment in urban and peri-urban locations because these are not generally to be found in their poor rural places of origin. The motivations or causes for the majority of movements are social, representing sponsorship of migration for poor rural migrants as opposed to perceptions that all movements are voluntary. Contrary to conventional perspectives, internal migration follows a step-wise direction to destination hence it occurs in a process where a variety of social and economic negotiations continue to be made between migrant and sponsors or carers, between places to ascertain the next move and a destination. The evidence that a migration is completed are migrant owns a house, garden and a regular source of cash income generation activities. Migrants can continue to participate in travels referred to as hevi for participation in life cycle events including births, deaths, initiations, marriages and events of family and friends and events requiring heavy financial engagements including compensations, house constructions, and school fees, because migrants attempt to rescue their rural households from these burdens. A finding also was that remittances are used for hevi-related travels (see Chapters 5 and 6) and not necessarily on improving the livelihood platform of rural origin households. Outcomes of their fulfilment of socio-cultural obligations and relationships are more important outcomes for migrants than economic investments of cash generated at destination. These research insights have also demonstrated the usefulness of the mixed methods research approach to yield information on internal migration that have clarified the differences and interrelations sought between quantitative or macro-and qualitative or micro-level approaches. The research has also demonstrated that both quantitative methods which provide data on migration patterns and migrant characteristics and qualitative methods which provide data on the socio-cultural meanings, understandings and outcomes of migration and migrant experiences, have an important complementary role and relevance for migration research. The research has also highlighted that these clarifications can correct misunderstandings and explanations of internal migration at the practical, societal, methodological and theoretical levels. The research has also demonstrated that half a century of attempts to bridge the gap between macro-explanations of migration and micro-explanations of migrants is enabled through the combined application of both quantitative and qualitative methods, techniques of data analyses and data. Quantitative data identifies the patterns of influence of the cash economy on migration and its impact on migrants in terms of the characteristics of those who move. Qualitative data provides insights into the migrant experience and information on these patterns and their influences. This exercise has been informed by considerations of migration from the various disciplines of the social sciences including economics, sociology, anthropology and geography. As a geographical research, it has rightly evoked the traditional claims about the synthesising nature of geography in terms that its essence of spatial linkages bridges both the quantitative or macro-and qualitative or micro-level explanations about internal migration in Papua New Guinea. There is promise and urgent need for developing a mixed methods explanation of internal migration in the context of the widespread poverty outcomes from migration, instead of economic prosperity that was envisaged in the National Constitution in 1975. In terms of its practical relevance to PNG, although this research did not focus on Port Moresby which is the capital city and largest recipient of peri-urban in-migrants, it studied focuses on two urbanising provinces of Morobe and the Eastern Highlands and not on the largest urban centre of the national capital. Morobe is also the largest province in the country. Finally, in the hybrid and dual economy, the rural poor utilise migration as their strategy for accessing, benefiting and transferring the benefits and wealth of progress to those poorer than themselves, who remain at their rural origins. The crime-related allegations about internal migration suggest that just like any other development program, internal migration requires a wise management plan and a greater focus on integrated rural development as part of the development plan.
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