Paolo Boccagni’s new piece on the significance of transnational housing and “remittance houses”, within research and practice on migration and development, has just been published in the Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development, edited by Tanja Bastia and Ronald Skeldon (2020).
Paolo Boccagni (2020), So many houses, as many homes? Transnational housing, migration, and development. In T. Bastia and R. Skeldon (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development, pp. 251-60.
This chapter provides a critical overview of the transnational housing investments of international labour migrants, and of their significance for the migration-development nexus. New or better houses “back home” are a visible marker of migrants’ connectedness with home communities, and of their expectations for future return, regardless of their actual accomplishment. The chapter analyses, first, the meanings and functions of so-called remittance houses in the communities of origin and in migrants’ own biographies; second, the ways in which remittances for housing are transnationally allocated and managed; third, the role of institutional actors and of the broader structure of opportunities in shaping migrant transnational building initiatives; last, the consequences of housing-related investments for processes and policies of local development. Empirically speaking, more research is in order on the everyday life experience inside these houses, to see how far they do work as “homes” for migrants and their left-behind counterparts.