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Title: The remittance debate reconsidered : interrogating transnational transfers between Ghanaian migrants in the United Kingdom and their relatives in Ghana
Author: Adiku, Geraldine Asiwome
ISNI:       0000 0004 7966 1003
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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While remittances have received renewed attention in development studies, researchers and policymakers have focused mainly on financial transfers from the 'global North' to the 'global South'. They have largely neglected remittances going in the opposite direction, especially from relatives to migrants, as well as non-financial or in-kind remittances. To bridge this gap, this thesis examines transfers (financial as well as in-kind) in both directions between migrants and their relatives, using as a case study, Ghanaian migrants living in the United Kingdom (UK) and their relatives in Ghana. The findings are based on 70 interviews with Ghanaian migrants in the UK and 51 interviews with their relatives in Ghana (matched sampling methodology) over the course of 13 months. The study challenges common assertions about the nature of transnational material transfers between African migrants in Europe and their relatives back home. In particular, it refutes the assumption that relatives in origin areas passively receive remittances. Based on migrants' access to resources, their migration motivations and the period of migration, this thesis identifies four types of transnational material transfers between Ghanaians in the UK and their relatives. The first type is the 'typical' migration story: the Ghanaian from a relatively poor background who achieves upward social mobility in the UK and is therefore able to send significant amounts of remittances to their relatives in Ghana. The second type consists of Ghanaians who, because of their precarious economic and legal position in the UK, experience significant difficulties in sending remittances home to poor relatives who need assistance. In the third type, relatively well-off Ghanaians in the UK do not send or receive remittances from Ghana because they nor their wealthy relatives need remittances. The fourth type concerns Ghanaians in the UK who do not remit but instead receive remittances from their relatives in Ghana. These migrants are also from wealthy families but have experienced downward social mobility upon migration, hence their need for assistance. This study also finds that remittances tend to decrease with the duration of Ghanaian migrants' settlement and improvement in the welfare of their relatives back home. Contrary to the remittance decay hypothesis, however, where decrease in amount and frequency of remittances over time is linked to assimilation, the transnational connection between Ghanaians in the UK and their relatives grows stronger as remittances decline because social tensions associated with remittances reduce. Together, these findings provide a solid foundation for more research on transnational transfers between migrants in the 'global North' and their relatives in the 'global South'.
Supervisor: Haas, Hein De ; Bakewell, Oliver Sponsor: Queen Elizabeth House ; University of Oxford
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available