Although mobility has been crucial to Southeast Asia since the pre-modern era (Wolters 1966; Andaya 2008), over recent decades it has increased in size and varied in typologies. Today, massive migrations as well as micro displacements appear as a main element in the transformation of the region and its integration into wider world systems (Hugo, Young, 2008; Lindquist 2013).
WP3’s principal hypothesis is that the quest for prosperity through mobility to obtain work, safer surroundings, knowledge or access to specific goods must be seen as a positive and creative drive of self-improvement and social transformation which invariably interacts with local, national or global social orders often rooted in the subjects’ very exclusion from the prosperity they are looking for. The goal of the WP is to describe such social orders in terms of their historical constitution and specific deployment. At the same time, it also aims to describe the actors, or subjects, of mobility/exclusion, as well as the production and circulation of goods which these subjects see as fundamental in their quest for prosperity. It appears that marginality and exclusion are not merely temporary effects of a general mobility towards a prosperous integration into world economic and social systems, but are often a consequence of it.