"Why study if I can make lots of money from this?" The effects of migration and remittances on alternate social mobility discourses in rural Mexico
Carmen Leon Himmelstine (Overseas Development Institute)
Paper short abstract:
Based on a multi-sited ethnography and qualitative methods in Mexico in two indigenous communities, this article explores the ways in which migration and remittances transform customary governance and ideas of social mobility of youths who received the conditional cash transfer programme Prospera.
Paper long abstract:
In a context of increased efforts to expand school enrolment and future labour opportunities, individual aspirations of rural youths do not necessarily align with governmental intended outcomes. This paper aims to contribute with the question of 'How does migration contribute to growth and development and what are the implications for inclusivity?'. Based on a multi-sited ethnography and qualitative methods in Mexico in two indigenous communities of Oaxaca, this article explores the ways in which migration and remittances, both domestic and international, transform customary governance and the ideas of social mobility of indigenous youths who received the conditional cash transfer programme Prospera, then known as Progresa/Oportunidades. Theoretically, the paper demonstrates that more years of education does not guarantee aspirations to continue studying as interpretations and perceptions of social mobility, influenced by the reception of remittances, are not necessarily founded in a causal link between education and professional jobs, as the logic behind conditional cash transfers and their focus on inclusive growth assume. Indeed, the outcome of the cash transfer was mediated by what the individual household and community considered as the means to achieve social mobility, which differed across the two main localities of study and their use of remittances. The paper contributes to efforts of understanding the complex relationship between conditional cash transfers and remittances at the individual, household and community levels.
Large-scale migration, remittances and development: historical and contemporary evidence