Locating a Ghanaian funeral: remittances and practices in a transnational context
until further notice
SourceDevelopment and Change, 37, 5, (2006), pp. 1047
Article / Letter to editor
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Development and Change
SubjectNON-RU research; Onderzoek niet-RU
Migrants are increasingly leading transnational lives, impacting the institutions that shape local economies both in their place of residence and in their home communities. One example of this is the institution of funerals in developing countries. Funerals are becoming multi-sited events as migrants from developing countries play important roles in the organization, financing and practice of funeral ceremonies in their home countries. Funerals thus give rise to flows of money, goods and people across national borders, ultimately affecting different economies around the world. This article uses a multi-sited research design to follow the flows associated with a funeral held in a village in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Detailed data were collected simultaneously in four locations involved in the funeral, and a multiplier analysis was used to trace funeral spending in different locations and sectors. The analysis shows that funeral spending supports various economic sectors in Ghana and across the globe, reinforcing the nature of funerals as (partly) economic events, which should be included in economic analyses of remittances and migration. Funeral practices are modified in various ways to accommodate transnational elements. At the same time, funerals continue to act, even in a transnational context, as occasions for reaffirming ties and a sense of belonging; they form a way for home communities, both rural and urban, to keep migrants interested in them.
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