Migration and family change in Egypt: a comparative approach to social remittances

Keywords: Egypt, migration, social change, family, gender


Based on two ethnographical studies, our article explores social remittances from France and from the Gulf States, i.e. the way Egyptian migrants and returnees contribute to social change in their homeland with a focus on gender ideals and practices, as well as on the ways families cope with departure, absence and return. Policies in the home and host countries, public discourse, translocal networks, and individual locations within evolving structures of power, set the frame for an analysis of the consequences of migration in Egypt. This combination of structural factors is necessary to grasp the complex negotiations of family and gender norms, as asserted through idealized models, or enacted in daily practices in immigration and back home.


Adelkhah, F. and Bayart, J-F. (2007). “Introduction : pour une anthropologie politique du voyage”. In : F. Adelkhah and J-F. Bayart (eds.) Voyages du développement : émigration, commerce, exil. Paris: Karthala-CERI: 5-29.
Al Aswany A. (2011). On the state of Egypt : a novelist’s provocative reflections. Cairo, New York, American University in Cairo Press.
Baron, B. (2007). Egypt as a Woman: Nationalism, Gender and Politics. Los Angeles: Uni-versity of California Press.
Birks, J. S. and Sinclair, C. (1979). “Egypt: A Frustrated Labor Exporter?”. Middle East Journal, 33, (3): 288-303.
Brink, J. (1991). “The Effect of Emigration of Husbands on the Status of Their Wives: an Egyptian Case”. International Journal of Middle East Studies (23): 201-211.
Cantini D. and Gruntz L. (2010). “Des nouveaux riches aux jeunes martyrs : évolutions de la migration de travail égyptienne au prisme de ses représentations”. In: I. Farag (ed.), Chroniques Egyptiennes 2008. Cairo: CEDEJ: 79-99.
Destremau, B. (2004). “Etat des lieux de la protection sociale dans les pays de la Méditerranée méridionale et orientale”. In: EUROMED (ed.), Sécurité sociale: facteur de cohésion sociale, Limassol (Cyprus): Conference May 27th-28th: 8-54.
Fergany, N. et. al. (1983). Foreign Manpower in the Arabian Gulf States. Beirut/Kuwait: Centre for Arab Unity Studies/ Arab Planning Institute (in Arabic).
Fargues P. 2011. "Croissance et mutations démographiques au XXe siècle", in V. Battesti & F. Ireton (ed) L’Egypte au présent – Inventaire d’une société avant révolution, Sindbad, Paris, 41-74.
Haas, H. (de). (2007). “Remittances, Migration and Social Development: a Conceptual Review of the Literature”. UNRISD Paper, (34).
Hannerz, U. (1996). Transnational connections : culture, people, places. London, New York, Routledge.
Hoodfar, H. (1997). Between Marriage and the Market: Intimate Politics and Survival in Cairo. London: Paperback.
Kapiszewski, A. (2006). “Arab versus Asian Migrant Workers in the GCC Countries”. Beirut: UN Expert Group Meeting on International Migration and Development in the Arab Region, Conference May 22nd 2006.
Khafagy, F. (1983). “Socio-Economic Impact of Emigration from a Giza Village”. In: A. Richards and Ph. L. Martin (eds.) Migrations, Mechanization and Agricultural Labor Markets in Egypt. Boulder: Westview Press: 135-155.
Lafargue, I. (2002). Itinéraires et stratégies migratoires des Egyptiens vers la France : Vers une nouvelle définition du modèle d’émigration en Egypte. Paris: FNSP.
Levitt, P. (1998). “Social Remittances: Migration Driven Local-Level Forms of Cul-tural Diffusion”. International Migration Review, Vol. 32, No. 4, 926-948.
Longva, A. N. (1997). Walls Built on Sand: Migration, Exclusion and Society in Kuwait. Boulder: Westview Press
Louhichi, K. (1997). “The Impact of Emigration of the Husband on the Status of the Wife: The Case of Egypt”. In: F. Cosio-Zavala (ed.) Women and Families: Evolution of the Status of Women as Factor and Consequence of Changes in Family Dynamics. Paris: CICRED: 323-339.
Morokvasic M. (2007). “Migration, Gender, Empowerment”. In: U. Lenz, B. Ullrich (eds) Gender Orders Unbound: Globalization, Restructuring and Reciprocity. Budrich: Opladen: 69-97.
Müller-Mahn, D. (2005). “Transnational Spaces and Migrant Networks: A Case Study of Egyptians in Paris”. Nord-Süd Aktuell, 19 (2): 29-33.
Ong A. (1999). Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham: Duke University Press.
Oso Casas L. (2005). “Femmes, actrices des mouvements migratoires”. In : C.Vershuur et F. Reysoo (eds.) Genre, nouvelle division internationale du travail et migrations. Geneva: IUED: 35-54.
Saad, R. (2005). Egyptian Workers in Paris: Pilot Ethnography. University of Sussex: Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty.
Sayad, A. (1999). La double absence: des illusions de l’émigré aux souffrances de l’immigré. Paris: Seuil.
Singerman, D. (1997). Avenues of Participation: Family, Politics and Networks in Urban Quarters of Cairo. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Weyland, P. (1993). Inside the Third World Village. London: Routledge.
Zohry, A. (2009). The Migratory Patterns of Egyptians in Italy and France. CARIM Research Report no. 2009/17. The Euro-Mediterranean Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration (CARIM), European University Institute, Florence.
Zohry, A. (2007). "Egyptian Irregular Migration to Europe". Migration Letters. 4(1):53-63.