On the theoretical potential of ‘remittance houses’: Toward a research agenda across emigration contexts

Journal article

Boccagni, Paolo & Marta Bivand Erdal (2020) On the theoretical potential of ‘remittance houses’: Toward a research agenda across emigration contexts, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2020.1804340.

Download Final publication

This is the Version of Record of the publication, available here in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. This publication may be subject to copyright: please visit the publisher’s website for details. All rights reserved.

Read the article here

Migrant houses in countries of origin, referred to as ‘remittance houses’, are a visible marker of emigration. Case studies from diverse geographic contexts have explored their functions. Unlike the surrounding built environment, these houses span the local and transnational realities of migrant lives, while being grounded in specific places. We argue, first, for the need to move beyond locally-oriented reifying descriptions of what is a global phenomenon; second, for the need to analyse migrant remittance houses as part of a broader agenda for unravelling the practical and emotional significance of ‘home’ in migration studies. The paper unveils the constitutive dimensions of migrant houses: their roles as symbols of migration; their significance as economic investments; their presence as physical structures necessitating follow-up locally; their function as second homes for holidays and reminders of (elusive) return migration. Researching remittance houses is a source of insights on questions of broader theoretical relevance, like the temporality of migration, the reach and sustainability of migrant transnationalism and the forms of cultural diffusion associated with it. This calls for a distinctive methodological agenda to advance research, based on a typology of transnational housing investments, which differentiates the locations, functions and rationales of migrant houses.

An error has occurred. This application may no longer respond until reloaded. An unhandled exception has occurred. See browser dev tools for details. Reload 🗙