“Careers” Transnational Links: The Ambivalence of Immigrant Remittances


Recent studies on international migration have paid special attention to the transnational perspective, a new branch of the sociology of migration studying the process through which migrants build social fields that link the countries of origin and destination. The economic transnationalism connected to the great phenomenon of remittances—financial, material or immaterial—is one relevant aspect of this field of study. Remittances are ambivalent because they can be interpreted either as a medium of consolidation of transnational ties or as a bond linking migrant women to the country of origin. Our target is, in fact, those migrant women who carry out in Italy a particular work of care: the badanti, or informal caregivers. As such, they constitute an important resource of the Italian welfare system, characterized as it is by an important family component. Any migratory phenomenon is, by nature, complex and dynamic, with different historical, economic and social characteristics. Moreover, it operates changes at many levels. The caring work done by badanti, as well as the transnational links represented by cross-border remittances, takes place and must be read within this broader dynamics. The research question for this paper is (exactly) that whether remittances are mainly bonds or mainly ties for badanti, relative to other migrant workers employed in the care sector. We use qualitative and quantitative data from the Prin 2004 research project1 concerning nationality, gender and class in new house holding work in Italy. After describing this phenomenon and its peculiarities, we shall analyze the mechanisms that originate it, and establish correlations with the surrounding context.

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Bordogna, M. and Ornaghi, A. (2014) “Careers” Transnational Links: The Ambivalence of Immigrant Remittances. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 170-177. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.21016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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