Doctoral Dissertation Research: Smyth: Remittance Management During Disaster Recovery

Grants and Contracts Details


This proposed research will examine the experiences of women in Santa María Nativitas Coatlán, an indigenous Mixe town in the Isthmus region of Oaxaca, Mexico that is currently negotiating how remittances should be used after a major earthquake struck in September 2017. Approximately half of the homes in Coatlán were damaged in the earthquake, and remittances are crucial in the funding of rebuilding projects. As women negotiate the uses of remittances within their families and communities at this pivotal moment, they are navigating and reworking traditional indigenous customary laws and community governance, which have existed, though far from unchanged, for generations. This project mobilizes remittances as the lens through which we study these gendered political and economic transformation. Our approach engages with and contributes to literature on remittances in economic development, gendered citizenship, and feminist geography. Drawing on comprehensive household surveys, archival research, participant observation, and semi-structured interviews, this research will illustrate the precise ways that remittances are being managed through indigenous customary law and community governance. It will investigate how women are participating in remittance management at the household and community level. We expect to learn how the process of negotiating remittance is transforming the responsibilities, labor, and political involvement of women. This study has intellectual merit because it will contribute to theoretical debates on gender, labor and citizenship that are ongoing in human geography and other social sciences. This research will have a broader impact as it could inform better understandings of how remittance management is organized at the local level, which in turn could inform policy-making that is more attuned to the significance of gender relations and to the possibilities of women as political actors in remittance management, especially in post-disaster situations.
Effective start/end date9/1/182/29/20


  • National Science Foundation: $17,461.00


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