Part of INCITE's Research and Empirical Analysis of Labor Migration (REALM) program, the Imagined Futures project will leverage research collaborations in Kerala, Sri Lanka, and Mizoram to build a cross-context comparative analysis of how international migration has shaped the way young people in migrant-sending countries imagine their future trajectories. We thus both gain a better understanding of how migration to the GCC shapes sending communities even among those who do not migrate, and can anticipate how the younger generation of potential migrants perceive and engage with the experience of migration. By framing migration as a project that extends beyond financial costs and benefits into the realm of social and moral considerations, we seek to push the scholarly and policy conversation about migration beyond one of economic rationality, to understand the complex motives and considerations of individuals who decide to leave their homes in search of work.

This project will draw on a sample of roughly 240 participants across three sites, and employs both qualitative interview approaches and innovative new instruments for quantitative analysis. As we approach the final year of the REALM program, we seek to maximize collaborative opportunities between REALM investigators across a diverse set of sites and institutions. We believe this project to be an exemplar of the kind of multi-sited, comparative undertaking we envisioned to be a core output of the REALM program.


Institutional Affiliates

Center of Development Studies (Kerala, India)
Institute of Policy Studies (Sri Lanka)


Special thanks to the students at City University of New York who have participated in interviews for the project.