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The migration-remittances-development-nexus: "mi casa con remesas" and transnational flows between Colombia and London

[working paper]

Zapata, Gisela P.

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Corporate Editor Universität Bielefeld, Fak. für Soziologie, Centre on Migration, Citizenship and Development (COMCAD)
Abstract "Over four million Colombians (around 10% of Colombia’s population) reside abroad and the UK is their second most favoured destination in Europe. Approximately 150,000 Colombians live and work in London and the UK is the fourth biggest source of remittances to Colombia. In recent years, the Colombian Government has toed the line of the migration-fordevelopment discourse emanating from the international development and aid agencies and has introduced policies to make their citizens abroad an integral part of a reconstituted definition of the Colombian nation. Under the umbrella of the ‘ColombiaNosUne’ programme, the government has sought to channel remittances towards mortgage-financed housing by promoting the "Mi casa con Remesas" programme and property fairs for Colombian migrants in their main cities of destination in the global north. Based on empirical data collected at both ends of the migration network, London and the Coffee Region of Colombia, this paper argues that the Colombian government’s conception of migrants as agents of development -and hence as financial subjects abroad- is tightly linked to wider attempts at the institutionalisation of migrants' practices in the transnational social field. These attempts are embedded in ideologically-driven neoliberal discourses of citizenship that privilege the financial market as the medium for individuals' and households' socioeconomic reproduction. Furthermore, they displace the responsibility for economic development from the state to its citizens 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. Yet, 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." (author's abstract)
Keywords migration; Colombia; Great Britain; development; promotion of development; housing; housing construction; funding
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration
Document language English
Publication Year 2011
City Bielefeld
Page/Pages 31 p.
Series COMCAD Working Papers, 106
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne