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The value, costs, and meaning of transnational migration in rural Oaxaca, Mexico

Jeffrey H. Cohen, Bernardo Rios, Lise Byars


Rural Oaxacan migrants are defined as quintessential transnational movers, people who access rich social networks as they move between rural hometowns in southern Mexico and the urban centers of southern California.  The social and cultural ties that characterize Oaxacan movers are critical to successful migrations, lead to jobs and create a sense of belonging and shared identity.  Nevertheless, migration has socio-cultural, economic and psychological costs.  To move the discussion away from a framework that emphasizes the positive transnational qualities of movement we focus on the costs of migration for Oaxacans from the state’s central valleys and Sierra regions.   


Transnationalism; identity; households; Mexico

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