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Transnationalism and development

Final Activity Report Summary - TRANSNAT AND DEV (Transnationalism and development)

Recent works have given account of project of development initiated by migrant organisations for the benefit of their region of origin. This study aims at understanding why some specific migratory groups are involved in collective practices of development and why others don't. Beyond this questioning, the aim is to give insight to the contemporary migratory phenomenon of transnationalism, it is to say the building, beyond human circulation, of transborder social entities.

This work is the first attempt to depict a general overview of migrant organisations of development in the world. This bibliographical research and complementary investigation among concerned NGO's has led to the production of a database on these organisations in the world. Thanks to this database, I produced a map displaying the worldwide scope of the phenomenon.

A comparative analysis of two case studies, the Indian organisations in United Kingdom and the Algerian in France, in addition to the material gathered during my previous research on the Moroccan associations in France, has served me as a basis for an accurate comprehension of the phenomenon. I identified five characteristics which are shared by these migratory groups. First, these groups are originated from rural areas. Second, their migration have been underlain, at least at the first stages of their migratory history, by kinship networks which led to the re-building of 'transnational village communities' in the host country. Third, the integration process, even if it has not affected the internal cohesion of the 'village communities', has led to the diversification of the members profiles. Along with male low-skilled workers have emerged more and more women, youngsters, unionist, and associative activists, retired, skilled and even wealthy people which have brought new resources and have enlarged the rationale of such groups. Due to this internal evolution, more and more of these 'transnational village communities' have been transformed into registered charities and evolved from traditional activities (repatriation of the bodies, renovation of religious building in the village of origin...) to modern projects of development (schools, roads, electrification, etc.). Four, most of these groups are minorities in their country of origin (Berbers, Sikhs, Latin American Indians, specific African ethnic groups...).

These minorities maintain distant and sometimes confrontational relationships with the central state. Consequently, they have kept self-sustaining traditions, often to face the poverty due to the lack of state interest. The strengthening of local structures, due to decentralisation policies in third world countries, gives the population the capacity to manage locally the projects of development and adapt them to the local realities. Consequently, the choice of the projects is very often done by the villages of origin, which solicit internal and international migrants to provide for funding.