Postcolonial migrations and neocolonial labour regimes: Nepali diaspora in Europe

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In this study, I depart from an interrogation of the British and Iberian colonial legacies in Nepal and India to analyze the postcolonial migratory phenomena (Samaddar, 2020) associated with the 21st century Nepali migration towards Europe. I enquire coloniality’s continuing presence through the implementation of specific, “neocolonial” labour regimes in certain European destinations, while articulating it to colonial legacies and linkages, the "Coloniality of power” (Quijano, 2000) in Modern, capitalist World-system and the particular representations of so-called “host” European countries by migrants themselves. This is a qualitative and interpretative research, combining data from 30 semi-structured interviews to 1st and 2nd generation Nepali female migrants in Portugal with data from 30 semi-structured interviews to Nepali migrants living in Spain and Portugal, together with participant observation, the field diary and ethnographic method. I will describe in detail postcolonial power relations and heritages, the ways how they continue to shape emerging, “neocolonial” local labour regimes (Cabral and Swerts, 2021) and destination hierarchies, together with the diaspora’s experiences of religiosity, identity and community (Gellner and Hausner, 2018, 2019; Owens, 2021). Specifically, I will discuss the concepts of migrants’ “geographical imaginaries” (Driver, 2014; Thompson, 2017; Zanker and Hennessey, 2021) regarding Europe and certain European countries, “destination cosmologies” (Belloni, 2020) and the “spatial imaginary spillover” (Neubauer, 2022), in connection with their migratory aspirations. I will conclude with the mixed and enriching impacts of Nepali students’ migration on the definition of the research agenda and the theorisation of migration knowledge about Nepal and Nepali diaspora in Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of IMISCOE Spring Conference 2023 in Nice
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023
Event IMISCOE Spring Conference 2023 in Nice - University of Côte d’Azur, Nice, France
Duration: 15 Mar 202317 Mar 2023


Conference IMISCOE Spring Conference 2023 in Nice
Internet address


  • Postcolonial migrations
  • Neocolonial labour regimes
  • Geographical imaginaries
  • Nepali diaspora


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