Remittances: eight analytical perspectives

Remittances are overwhelmingly important to the relationship between migration and development. Yet, they are sometimes perceived as an over-researched and increasingly lacklustre topic on the migration and development agenda. This chapter shows that there is much more to be said, explored, and challenged, with an open analytical vantage point. Because they are specific and concrete, remittances can illustrate connections across thematic, disciplinary, and methodological aspects of migration and development.

This chapter takes such a diversity-driven approach and presents eight complementary perspec­tives on remittances: remittances as a pivot in the migration–development nexus, remittan­ces as development finance, remittances as a research topic, remittances as a transnational practice, remittances as scripted transactions, remittances as a methodological challenge, remittances as a driver of development, and remittances as unforeseen burdens.

Drawing on research from across the social sciences, the chapter shows how remittances matter to the people who receive them, to the people who send them, and to many others with stakes in the field of migration and development. It ends by asking whether recent research has contributed to the refinement of the concept of remittances, or rather to its implosion.

Carling, J. (2020) ‘Remittances: eight analytical perspectives.’ in Bastia, T. and Skeldon, R. (eds) Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development. Abingdon: Routledge, 114-124.

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