Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Geography, Environment and Planning

Major Professor

Pratyusha Basu, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Martin Bosman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jayajit Chakraborty, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joni Downs, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ruiliang Pu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ella Schmidt, Ph.D.


globalization, intersectionality, migrant workers, rural and urban places, safety, Tokyo


Within the broader literature on migration, Japan is often portrayed as straddling two categories, one of a homogenous country and another of a multicultural society. The arguments on both sides are supported through the historical evidence, analysis of media resources, as well as narratives of Japanese residents. This inquiry seeks to highlight voices of migrants within these debates. This dissertation focuses on the urban – rural residential experiences of international migrants in Kanto and Tohoku regions. This inquiry treats international migration processes in terms of moving between the contexts of different countries as well as between urban – rural locations. These global – local experiences of migrants are set within broader milieu of the social and spatial stratifications created through neoliberal competition. The theoretical framework for this analysis is based on post-structural understandings of identity, migration, and economy. This study draws on qualitative methods, including, ethnographic data, interviews, content and textual analysis of job advertisements, as well as cognitive mapping. These sources allow us to create a unique portrait of migrant subjectivity that pulls from different contexts of fluid, spatial identities which mediate migrants’ interpretations of living and working in neoliberal Japan. The findings of this dissertation support the thesis that intersectional social identities such as gender, ethnicity, and social class, have a spatial component.

Included in

Geography Commons