Political Remittances: Understanding the Political Impacts of Migration (starting October 2013)
Dr Gwendolyn Sasse, SIAS, DPIR and Nuffield College, has been awarded a three-year Leverhulme Trust Project on Political Remittances: Understanding the Political Impacts of Migration. This project aims to complement the research on the types and impacts of economic remittances.
The term political remittances has occasionally been used in the debates about migration but it has yet to be developed conceptually and empirically. Based on a transnational and cross-temporal approach (19th/early 20th century European migration to the US and contemporary East-West migration in Europe), this project offers a new perspective on the impacts of migration beyond the limitations of case- and period-specific research or research that limits itself to a small number of old diaspora groups when exploring homeland linkages. The project applies a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative analysis (e.g. of newly available historical data; contemporary surveys) and qualitative research (e.g. archival work on migrant letters and organisations; interviews with individual diaspora members who rose to political prominence in their homelands and officials designing diaspora and returnee policies; focus groups with ordinary migrants). The main questions this project seeks to answer are:
- What factors determine whether and how migrants stay in touch with their homelands?
- Do the patterns of interaction between migrants and their homelands differ by group and/or historical period
- Do migrants affect political change in their homelands? If so, by what direct/indirect means and at what point in the migration cycle?
- Are political remittances, understood as a mixture of tangible resources and ideas, a function of economic remitances? Or conversely, are political remittances distinctive from economic remittances?