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Title: Migration, remittances and development : constructing Columbian migrants as transnational financial subjects
Author: Zapata, Gisela
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 4442
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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In recent years, remittances have been hailed as potential drivers of economic development in migrant-sending countries. Over four million Colombians (around 10% of Colombia‘s population) reside abroad and the UK is their second most favoured destination in Europe. Approximately 100,000 Colombians live and work in London and, in turn, the UK is the fourth biggest source of remittances to Colombia. In recent years, the Colombian Government has introduced policies to make their citizens abroad an integral part of a reconstituted definition of the Colombian nation. It has sought to render migrants as agents of economic development by channelling their remittances towards ‗productive investment‘. The main component of this investment is mortgage-financed housing. To this end, the government has promoted ‗Mi casa con remesas‘, a model of housing finance for people who receive remittances periodically from their family members abroad, and sponsored housing/property fairs for Colombian migrants in their main cities of destination in the global north: Madrid, London, New York and Miami. This thesis situates the Colombian government‘s narratives around the use of remittances to finance housing investment within broader discourses of development and neoliberalism and the strategies and experiences of accessing housing articulated by Colombian migrants in London and their households in the Coffee Region of Colombia. Based on empirical data collected at both ends of the migration network, it argues that the conception of migrants as agents of development – and hence as transnational financial subjects – is tightly linked to wider attempts at the institutionalisation of the transnational social field. These attempts are embedded in ideologically-driven discourses of citizenship that privilege financial markets as the medium for individuals‘ and households‘ socioeconomic reproduction. Furthermore, they displace the responsibility for economic development from the state to its citizens (at home and abroad) and bring to the fore investment as the preferred mechanism for the ‗proper‘ use of remittances and through which migrant households‘ connection to broader circuits of capital and finance can be exploited. Although housing is a growing component of remittances expenditure, for the most part, Colombians in London are not embracing their newly-assigned financial subjectivities but are instead using alternative channels for housing acquisition and financing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available