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CONSTRUCTING HOMES, BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: MIGRANT INVESTMENTS IN HOUSES

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ABSTRACT

Studies around the world have shown the interest of migrants to invest in houses in their countries of origin. Yet scholarly and political debates have mainly focused on the productivity of these investments, arguing that the money spent might have found more productive uses. We argue that this is too limited a view, as it fails to take into consideration two dimensions: Why do investments in houses take place, a question that is not only economic but also social and cultural in nature. Second, how do transnational investments in houses take place? This is important given that migrants are seldom able to construct their own homes, instead depending on actors in their country of origin. This paper shows the importance of unravelling the transnational relationships involved with migrant investments in houses in order to understand the meaning of these investments.

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