Remittances are usually understood as private transfers of money from a migrant to a relative remaining in the country of origin.1 However, the term remittances refers to a broad range of different transfers, sent not only by international but also by internal migrants, in contexts where migration may have taken place for a number of different reasons. The simple description of remittances as transfers from a worker abroad may be appropriate for contexts of short-term labour migration — for instance, from Pakistan to the Gulf States. However, in the context of long-standing transnational social fields, remittances become intrafamily exchanges that encompass many kinds of transfers to family and the broader kinship group or beyond, for a variety of purposes. When remittances are no longer transfers only within a household, but also beyond the household (Erdal, 2012c), the agency of remittance receivers becomes more apparent. A nar- row definition of remittances serves the analysis of remittances from short- term labour migrants well; however, it does not equally speak to empirical patterns of maturing emigration contexts. In the Pakistani context, there are more families with short-term regional labour migration experiences, but there is an increasing proportion of transnational extended families, where remittances are part of the larger picture within a particular trans- national social field.
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- The Social Dynamics of Remittance-Receiving in Pakistan: Agency and Opportunity among Non-migrants in a Transnational Social Field
Marta Bivand Erdal
- Palgrave Macmillan UK