Mover-oriented approach to understand rural-urban interaction:a case from Sarawak, Malaysia

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This paper describes the entire picture of the mobility of indigenous people (the Iban) of Sarawak, Malaysia, between rural and urban areas, and tries to redefine the meaning of 'rural' and 'urban' for mobile people. While the Iban villages have been experiencing significant out-migration over the previous few decades, most of rural-to-urban migrants retain village 'membership' regardless of their current place of residence. Urban dwellers set up residential bases in both town and village, frequently moving between the two areas. This paper emphasizes that the Iban are stretching the notions of 'household' and 'village member' to secure and integrate multiple residences or multiple belonging. It can be said that individuals are endeavoring to integrate rural and urban lives by extending their living space across the two areas. Focusing on the movers who have embodied the integration of rural and urban space may aid in analyzing for clarifying rural-urban interactions. This mover-oriented focus would suggest a possible approach to reconsider the discontinuity between rural and urban studies.


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