Maryann Bylander, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, Lewis & Clark

Borrowing Across Borders: Migration, Debt and Development in Southeast Asia

International migration has long been linked to forms of indebtedness. Migrants often need loans to finance costly cross-border moves, indebtedness can motivate the need for migration, and the remittances migrants send home are often used to repay household debts. Yet while migration scholars routinely point to debt and indebtedness as playing a central role in migrant experiences, there have been few efforts to bring migration into discussions of the “microcredit revolution” occurring across the Global South. This paper explores the connections between microcredit and migration in rural Cambodia, drawing on mixed-methods research to highlight the various ways that households are “borrowing across borders,” and the consequences of cross-border lending on the lives of migrant workers.

Maryann Bylander is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Lewis & Clark College. Her research focuses on questions of migration and development in the Global South, particularly Southeast Asia.  Since 2004 she has been traveling to Cambodia, where she has conducted mixed-methods research on questions of migration, rural livelihoods, microcredit, gender, and the environment. Recent work has been published in Development and Change, Migration Studies, Population Research and Policy Review, & Oxford Development Studies. Maryann is a founding board member of PEPY, an NGO working to promote education in Siem Reap.

Organised together with Forum for Asian Studies, Stockholm University.

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