670.5 Migration and “well-being” - The experience of mixtec migrants in the United States and Mexico

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 11:29 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Magdalena ARIAS CUBAS , University of Sydney, Australia
This paper will argue that a human-centred approach provides key insights into the developmental or transformative impact of human mobility. Building from the premise that the transformative impact of migration -and migration itself- is contingent on a vast number of social, economic and political factors, this paper will assert that an approach which neglects the broader social reality of migrants at their country of destination -as well as that of relatives or communities of origin- is insufficient in capturing the complexity of this phenomenon.

This paper will focus on the migratory experience of Mixtec migrants residing in the United States, as well as that of relatives or members of their communities of origin in Mexico. It will provide an initial evaluation of the perspectives and experiences of Indigenous individuals and organisations regarding the value of human mobility and its transformative impact. This paper has three inter-related objectives. First, it seeks to reflect on some of the epistemological and methodological issues that arise when studying the transformative impact of migration. Second, it aims to provide an example of the manner in which these issues can be addressed in practice. Third, it aims to provide a number of initial insights into the meaning and determinants of what “well-being” or “development” means for this particular community of migrants and the extent to which the experience of migration is conducive or detrimental to this.  

This paper will draw from the initial stages of my fieldwork in both Mexico and the United States. While the findings presented in this paper will not be conclusive, they will nonetheless provide an example of the insights that can be drawn through a human-centered analysis of the transformative impact of migration.