Critical linkages: Transnational living and prospects for private senders of money from Britain to Ghana and Nigeria

Owusu-Sekyere, Freda (2014). Critical linkages: Transnational living and prospects for private senders of money from Britain to Ghana and Nigeria. PhD thesis The Open University.



The discourse on remittance flows has been predominantly financialised, focusing on their development impacts, securitisation in financial markets, and as risks to global financial systems through money laundering, terrorist financing and tax evasion. This has resulted in neglect of senders' perspectives and voices, even though senders bear the financial and human costs of remittances. This is a complex social phenomenon. Adopting bricolage using a mixed methods approach, based on the experiences of Ghanaian and Nigerian senders living in Britain, this study draws on conceptual frameworks of transnationalism, financialisation and wellbeing, and critical theory, to examine the financialisation of remittances, senders' transnational living and livelihoods, and well-being. The research findings are based on reviews of academic and policy literature from transnationalism, social policy and behavioural finance, synthesised with empirical data gathered from a group interview, quantitative survey and in-depth interviews of Ghanaian and Nigerian senders based in Britain. There are five main research findings: participating senders are not only migrant workers, but include British citizens; remittances constitute transnational social protection finance; efforts made by senders through transnational living strategies, sacrifice, and efforts to make recipients feel cared about, are understood as emotional labour; the policy and regulatory environment represents financialisation from 'above'. By highlighting senders' perspectives on remittance sending as a practice that has socio-cultural meanings, where money plays a role in mediating and shaping the dynamic family relationships underpinning the 'surface' financial transaction, the study additionally illuminates ways in which transnational family relationships can become financialised. Through understanding remittances as transnational social protection, and its sending practices as emotional labour and emotion in finance, the study contributes new data, methods, and concepts, drawing together multiple subject disciplines including social policy, international development, and behavioural finance that have traditionally been studied separately, demonstrating areas where they intersect and enrich each other.

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