Migrant assemblages: building postsocialist households with Kyrgyz remittances

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Author: Igor Rubinov
Date: Winter 2014
From: Anthropological Quarterly(Vol. 87, Issue 1)
Publisher: Institute for Ethnographic Research
Document Type: Report
Length: 13,268 words
Lexile Measure: 1440L

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Abstract :

More money now flows into developing countries from the remittances of labor migrants than from official foreign aid. To make use of these crucial inflows, migrants rely upon transnational livelihoods strategies to allocate remittances. Remittance practices support individual needs and communal reciprocities by engaging a site of inter-household collaboration. While recent theories of transnational migration situate households prominently within these practices, ethnographic research in Kyrgyzstan reveals that households do not make use of remittances on their own. Communal practices span households by employing relations of debt, reciprocity, and trust. This article seeks to bridge the development literature focused on transnational livelihoods with an anthropological attunement to the social reciprocity of remittances. The resulting assemblages require constant upkeep while exposing social obligations to distortion and normative change. [Keywords: Households, livelihoods, reciprocity, debt, labor migration, remittance practices, Kyrgyzstan]

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A358314872