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Crossings : mexicana remittance couriers and the borders of patriarchy and nation Lee, Elizabeth

Abstract

This thesis examines the gendered processes of transnational remittance networks and the role of Mexican courier women in Los Angeles. In countries such as Mexico, remittances from the U.S. have become one of the primary sources of revenue, not only for individual households, but also for long-term state infrastructure projects such as roads, hospitals and schools. However, as many emigrant-sending states reclaim transmigrants as part of new forms of nation-state building projects, very little has been said about the gendered dimensions of such processes. On this score, my paper explores the ways in which attending to gender can bring a more nuanced and differentiated perspective on transnational remittance networks; and specifically examines how the gendered processes of migrant remittances fit within a constellation of neo-liberal state economic and social policies in the U.S. and in Mexico. By drawing upon a series of interviews with remittance couriers, I illustrate how migrant women negotiate such constellations by simultaneously disrupting and reproducing certain gendered norms, hierarchies and tensions.

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