Through the prism of a Nepali remittance village, this book critically examines poverty and livelihood dynamics remade through transnational labour migration and remittances, and their interrelationships with land, rural labour and agriculture.
The concept of The Remittance Village emphasises rural people’s transnational mobilities as a key feature of contemporary dynamics in many parts of the Global South, which are reconfiguring rural social, economic and ecological textures. Sunam challenges complacent linear narratives that assume new opportunities such as transnational migration, and remittances provide better pathways for the rural poor to come out of poverty, as well as narratives that understate the importance of land and farming for the rural poor. He demonstrates both that new opportunities are inaccessible for many poor people and that accessing these opportunities often engenders increased precarity and vulnerability. In The Remittance Village, he finds that even those accessing new opportunities are successful only when their household member(s) are simultaneously engaged in in-situ (non-)agricultural activities.
This book is a valuable resource for scholars and students from a range of interdisciplinary backgrounds, including human geography, anthropology of development, and sociology. It is also recommended reading for policy makers, international development agencies and I/NGOs working on rural development in the Global South.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Mapping Rural Poverty and Livelihoods
Chapter 3: More Than the Soil: Land as a Rural Pivot
Chapter 4: Labour, Remittance and Agrarian change
Chapter 5: Rural Non-agricultural Pathways
Chapter 6: Transnational Labour Migration, Remittances and Livelihood Dynamics
Chapter 7: Joining the Dots
Ramesh Sunam is an Assistant Professor at the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.
"For years the village has been studied as a place unto itself, with intimate ties of community and economy. In The Remittance Village, Ramesh Sunam skilfully, convincingly and, at times, movingly shows why we need to think afresh about the roots of rural poverty, the nature of agrarian transformation, and the livelihood vulnerabilities that arise with market integration and transnational labour mobility. This book may be about one Nepali remittance village, but the lessons stretch way beyond this singular place and its inhabitants."
Jonathan Rigg, Professior,University of Bristol, UK. Author of More than Rural: Textures of Thailand’s Agrarian Transformation
"Ramesh Sunam’s The Remittance Village presents a fascinating exploration of the social relations through which transnational migration, land access, and poverty are constituted and experienced in the Tarai region of Nepal. Sunam skillfully nuances contemporary debates about the power dynamics underlying transnational migrants’ and other rural subjects’ relative precarity and well-being in the context of agrarian change. Locating his rich, field-based study within dynamic global, national, and regional contexts, Sunam situates poor rural households in complex and differentiated trajectories, engaging the intersectional lenses of class, caste, gender, and ethnicity. Transnational migrants augment livelihoods with remittances and forge household livelihood pathways in which migration presents uneven opportunities for improvement but generates new risks as well. The book deftly illustrates the contradictory, diverse, and complex ways that major sources of rural livelihoods in contemporary Asia such as land, remittances from transnational migration, and non-farm work opportunities remain important in new ways to villagers’ everyday lives. The book is set to become a go-to source for learning to document the social complexities of migration and agrarian change."
Nancy Lee Peluso, Henry J. Vaux Distinguished Professor, University of California, Berkeley