Habitat Unit

DFG, 2012 – 2015
Dr. Elisa Bertuzzo

Circular Migration and Habitat: The city-country relation in an era of global urbanisation

Since the hypothesis of "modernity at large" (Appadurai 1996), talks of a thoroughly mobile and de-territorialised world have become common. Aside from more critical approaches, such as the "new mobilities paradigm" (Sheller/Urry 2006), the implications of the mobilisation for the future of settlements are still poorly reflected. An increasing fluctuation of people across rural and urban regions has been recorded also in South Asia (Kundu 2011, Deshingkar/Farrington 2009). This provides the context for that this project aims to use to derive clues around the issue.

Ciurcular Migration 1

How do translocal livelihoods impact habitat? Which is the relationship between circular migration and the fragmented growth processes recorded in the suburbs of megacities, secondary cities and census towns? How does translocalisation affect individuals' representations and practices of homing, inhabiting and production-reproduction?

Answers to these questions were developed via a documentation of circular migrants' livelihoods in Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal and Kerala. It could be shown how movement – which in these cases are mostly linked to temporary, seasonal, under-regulated labour –  stands in a cause / consequence relationship with urbanisation. On the basis of the observations of new types of settlements and emerging modes of production, the project attempts to reflect on South Asia's own moving urbanisation.

The project is funded by German Research Fundation (DFG).


Elisa Bertuzzo

Room A 408b 
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 27391 
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907



(2014)During the Urban Revolution – Conjunctures on the streets of Dhaka. In: Schmid, C., Stanek, Ł., Moravánszky, Á., eds. Urban Revolution Now. Farnham: Ashgate.

(2013) Mobil, immobil, translokalisiert: Südasiens zirkuläre Migranten im „Dazwischen". In: Blotevogel, H., Frank, S., Holz-Rau, C., Scheiner, J., Schuster, N., eds Mobilitäten und Immobilitäten. Dortmunder Beiträge zur Raumplanung. Essen: Klartext Verlag.

(2012)'Motion at large': Für eine Kulturwissenschaft der Bewegung. In: Dilger, H., Hoffmann, B., eds. Ethnographische Raumpraktiken. Berlin: Panama Verlag.

Conference Papers


Circular Migration and Habitat: The city-country relation in an era of mophosshol-isation

International Conference On Sustainable And Inclusive Urban Development In India: "Learning from International Experiences and Devising Future Strategies", Institute for Human Development, New Delhi

Archives of movement – Reading current transformations of migrant labour through the concept of movement

PSi #21 International Conference Fluid States: Performances of Unknowing: "Rethinking Labour and the Creative Economy: Global Performative Perspectives", Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


Zirkuläre Migration und Habitat – Zu einer Kulturwissenschaft der Bewegung

International conference "Mobilitäten/Immobilitäten", Technische Universität Dortmund, Dortmund