Remitting subjects: Migrants, money and states

  • Hernandez E
  • Coutin S
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Abstract

Abstract Scholars? and policy-makers? interest in the remittances that migrants send home to relatives has increased dramatically in the past two decades. Focusing on remittances from the United States to El Salvador, we examine how academic studies, public discourse, and state accounting practices simultaneously produce and reveal the nature of this phenomenon. By treating the money that migrants send home as both national resource and foreign currency, central banks and international financial institutions define remittances as a ?cost-free? source of national income. Further, debates about remittances? social and economic impact focus on whether remitting promotes or undermines particular values associated with neoliberalism, such as self-sufficiency, entrepreneurship and empowerment. Our analysis thus sheds light on new configurations through which money, states and migrant citizens are linked. Scholars? and policy-makers? interest in the remittances that migrants send home to relatives has increased dramatically in the past two decades. Focusing on remittances from the United States to El Salvador, we examine how academic studies, public discourse, and state accounting practices simultaneously produce and reveal the nature of this phenomenon. By treating the money that migrants send home as both national resource and foreign currency, central banks and international financial institutions define remittances as a ?cost-free? source of national income. Further, debates about remittances? social and economic impact focus on whether remitting promotes or undermines particular values associated with neoliberalism, such as self-sufficiency, entrepreneurship and empowerment. Our analysis thus sheds light on new configurations through which money, states and migrant citizens are linked.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Accounting
  • El Salvador
  • Migration
  • Remittances
  • The United States

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Authors

  • Ester Hernandez

  • Susan Bibler Coutin

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