Hadia Akhtar Khan
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationToronto, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9724
Approve DateOctober 23, 2018
Project TitleAkhtar Khan, Hadia, U. of Toronto, Toronto, Canada - To aid research on 'The Social Life of Remittances: Revaluations of Social Reproduction in Rural Pakistan,' supervised by Dr. Tania Li
Preliminary abstract: Migrant remittances have become an essential source for the reproduction of livelihoods, integrating rural communities in the Global South to transnational circuits of capital. Although, circular migration, when migrants move repeatedly between their village and destination country, appear to be disrupting feudal livelihoods and undercutting patriarchal structures in migrant households in rural Pakistan, these transformations cannot be understood through the binary of continuity/change. In these new conditions, households must reconcile contradictory demands, tapping a desperately needed livelihood while pursuing social conventions like the honor code of Pashtunwali. While contestations over the distribution and use of remittances may suggest that ‘rational’ market values are prevailing over ‘traditional’ values of honor, they cannot be read as simple divisions between economy and culture. I will investigate these new conditions, not through binaries of continuity/change, economy/culture, but as ‘revaluations’ (Collins 2017) by foregrounding the social reproduction of a materially and culturally valued life for migrant-sending households in Mardan District. Specifically, I will trace the social life of remittances as people distribute, consume, invest and save them, and map the gender, caste, class and kin-based contestations produced by remittance pathways. By producing an account of revaluations in social reproduction, I seek to contribute to the renewed interest in the anthropology of value.