'A Place to Stay in Pakistan': Why Migrants Build Houses in their Country of Origin

Journal article

Erdal, Marta Bivand (2012) 'A Place to Stay in Pakistan': Why Migrants Build Houses in their Country of Origin, Population, Space and Place 18 (5): 629–641.

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Migrants' houses are a common feature of many regions of emigration globally and are one manifestation of migrants' transnational ties. This paper explores why migrants' build houses in their country of origin, even when migrants are not planning to return. The paper aims to analyze migrants' houses as relational places located in transnational social space. This is done through an analysis of the reasons for building migrants' houses, which shows the significance of these houses as relational places, in practical and symbolic ways. This is supported by a transnational perspective that includes the different views on migrants' houses among involved actors across transnational social space: the migrants, their relatives, the local communities the houses are built in, and societies where migrants have settled. The data for this paper consist of 45 semi-structured interviews with Pakistani migrants in Norway and non-migrant relatives in Pakistan, informal conversations with local Pakistanis, and analysis of media reports in Norway.

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