Are all Dollars Equal? The Meanings Behind Migrants’ Financial Transfers

¿Son todos los dólares iguales? Los significados de las transferencias financieras de los migrantes

Diana MATA-CODESAL

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Resumen

Este artículo ofrece un análisis detallado de las transferencias monetarias entre personas migrantes y sus familias en dos zonas rurales de los Andes ecuatorianos. Se identifican y analizan cinco transferencias distintas: remesas sustento, ahorros de las personas migrantes, pago de deudas, dinero para emergencias y dinero regalo.
En cada caso, los significados asociados a los dólares recibidos son diferentes. Para entender plenamente las transferencias de dinero entre las personas migrantes y sus familias, hay que mirar la relación que se existe entre ambos grupos. Esta relación que incluye mutuas y a veces divergentes expectativas y obligaciones, es compleja y está marcada por cuestiones de género, edad y parentesco.

Palabras clave: remesas; familias transnacionales; género; Andes;Ecuador


Abstract

This paper provides a detailed analysis of financial remittances to families in rural Andean Ecuador. Five different types of transfers are identified and analyzed: family maintenance remittances, migrants’ savings, debt repayment, emergency money, and gift money. In each case, the dollars families receive as remittances have various meanings. In order to fully understand migrants’ money transfers to their families, the relationships between senders and receivers, which include mutual— and sometimes diverging—expectations and obligations, need to be taken into account. These relationships are complex, and shaped by gender, age, and kinship considerations.

Keywords: remittances; transnational families; gender; Andes; Ecuador


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