Matt Withers (PhD, Sydney)

Matt Withers is a Lecturer at the School of Sociology at the Australian National University (ANU). He was previously a Research Fellow within the Department of Sociology, Macquarie University, having completed his PhD within the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. His research is concerned with the developmental implications of temporary labour migration and remittances, both in Sri Lanka and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. His work adopts a multiscalar approach to migration dynamics and draws attention to local geographies and institutions as key sites of understanding through which to reconcile structural analysis with diverse and contextually-specific experiences of development and underdevelopment. His current research looks at how temporary labour migration intersects with work and care arrangements within migrant households, and calls for a ‘decent care’ agenda that frames support for gender-equitable social reproduction as integral to decent work and sustainable development.

Matt’s Publications

Journal Articles

  1. Withers, M. (2017). Accumulation by Subordination: Migration-Underdevelopment in the Open Economy. Polity. 7 (2).


  1. Withers, M. (2019). Sri Lanka’s Remittance Economy: A Multiscalar Analysis of Migration-Underdevelopment. Routledge.

  2. Withers, M. (2017). Sri Lanka: Between Working Realities and Gendered Fictions. In M. Ford, M. Baird and E. Hill (Eds), Women, Work and Care in the Asia-Pacific. New York: Routledge.

  3. Withers, M. (2014). Reimagining Dependency: an Ode to Unpopular Economics. In V. Gunasekara and R. Alles (Eds), You May Say I’m a Dreamer, (pp. 71-77). Colombo: Centre for Poverty Analysis.

Academic Conferences

  1. Withers, M. and N. Pipper (2015), "Uneven Migration and the Shortcomings of ’Migrant Entrepreneurship’ in Sri Lanka", Australasian Aid Conference, Australian National University.

  2. Withers, M (2014) "Place, Practice and Pretence: A Topography of Sri Lankan Labour Migration", in Sri Lanka Otherwise? Resituating Topography and Temporality, American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies Conference, Stanford University, USA

  3. Withers, M (2013) Patriarchy, Labour Markets and Development: Contesting the Sexual Division of Labour in Sri Lanka, International Centre for Women’s Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Other publications

  1. Piper, N., Rosewarne, S. and Withers, M. (2016). Redefining a Rights-based Approach in the Context of Temporary Labour Migration in Asia. UNRISD Working Paper Series.

  2. Withers, M. (2014). A Continuum of Ethnic Violence in Sri Lanka: Aluthgama and the Buddhist War Machine. The Sydney Globalist.

  3. Withers, M. (2014). Reimagining Dependency: An Ode to Unpopular Economics. Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka).