More than money : the flow of social remittances in migrant networks of transnational social relations. The perspective of Filipina migrants in the Netherlands

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A transnational turn took place in the 1990s in the study of migration. When we consider migration as transnational, the focus lies not on origin or destination but rather on social networks, transgressing and blurring borders. A growing body of research includes social networks into the theory of migration. Some theories explain the existence and continuation of migration, whereas this thesis instead will look into the impacts of migration. One of the impacts of migration that has recently been booming in literature and the news is that of remittances. Remittances are commonly understood as being financial, monetary transfers from migrants to their country of origin. This focus on financial remittances reflects a one-sided perspective on the impacts of migration as the social aspects are lacking. When we take the perspective of social networks, the focus lies not only on the migration of people but corollary on the migration of ideas. Several scholars, among which the most prominent being Peggy Levitt, address the social impacts of migration in the form of social remittances. Levitt defines social remittances as being the ideas, behaviours, identities, and social capital that migrants export to their home communities (Levitt and Sørensen 2004, p.8). This research forms an attempt to look beyond the financial aspect of remittances and to move social remittances away from being in the shadow of financial remittances. The relevance of this thesis lies not only in a scholarly deficit of social aspects but also accords with a sense of frustration from international migrants, since they experience the overtly focus on ‘their’ money as lacking the emotional value that is attached to remittance coins. Moreover, the conceptualization of migration and its impacts as taking place due to and within social relations, makes the phenomenon bigger than only the migrants themselves.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen