Social remittances and rural place making – A study of translocal migration in Nepal

Start date: 6 September, 2012 End date: 2 December, 2012 Project type: Master's Thesis (prior to 2018) Project code: A17173 Countries: Nepal Institutions: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Grant recipient: Ditte Rasmussen Brøgger Total grant: 15,000 DKK


Contemporary migration creates translocal fields through migrant’s translocal habitus and their simultaneous life in different translocal communities. By drawing on geographical and anthropological literature concerned with open and relational understandings of place, this study will show that translocal migrants contribute to the processes of place making by their exchange of social remittances. This is accomplished by drawing on a qualitative and multi-sited case study from a particular village community in Eastern Nepal and connections from here to Kathmandu, along with studies of the relationship between different forms of the multilocal lives of movers and stayers, and how migrants express the importance of their ‘home’. Nepal is a relevant place to study migration and development interventions, both because migration historically has played a role, but also because Nepal is in the middle of fundamental processes of change. This study will explore alternative understandings of the migration-development nexus. The aim is to understand the relevance of the social aspects of migration and development, and to outline a social approach to place making. It will be argued, that through a translocal approach it is possible to understand, how processes from beyond affect places. Places are affected from elsewhere through exchange of social remittances. By foregrounding these relationships between places and people, this study can point to the importance of social aspects of migration and will convey a critique of an economic focus within development thinking.