When the originbecomes the destination: Lost remittances and social resilience of return labour migrants in Thailand

Simon Alexander Peth / Patrick Sakdapolrak

In: AREA, Volume 51, Number 4 - doi.org/10.1111/area.12598


In recent years there has been a renewed enthusiasm about the role of migration in development, as well as the importance of remittances. However, there is also a danger of rehashing previous debates with an overemphasis on economic remittances, while relegating the transfer of social remittances, such as new ideas, knowledge, skills, practices, and social capital, to a secondary role. Though literature on social remittances has increased over the last decade the debate tends to emphasize the positive relation between migration, remittances, and development. In this paper we scrutinize this relation. Based on eight months' multi‐sited empirical research in Thailand (origin) and Singapore (destination) the aim of this paper is to enhance our understanding of the process of transfer of social remittances to the place of origin, and their effect on social resilience. This paper examines current and returned migrants and hypothesizes that the translocal setting - including both occupational engagement at the destination and local conditions at the place of origin - and time decisively influence how social remittances can be used back home.

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