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Fataluku Labor Migration and Transnational Care in Timor-Leste

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2024-05-01
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Abstract

The emergence of a vibrant remittance economy in East Timor, generated by growing numbers of labor migrants working overseas, has been an unexpected feature of Timor-Leste’s post-Independence years. Formal and informal labor-migration schemes are part of this new economic landscape, and the remittance dollars that flow back to Timor-Leste are having profound, positive effects on communities there. Some of the striking impacts of this trend include funding house construction, renovations, and upgrades; subsidizing everyday expenses (energy, clothing, food); underwriting education costs; and intensifying expenditures on and participation in cultural events (celebrations, ceremonies, and rituals). Drawing on Stephen Gudeman’s (2001) conceptual dialectic between the interactive realms of community and market economies, this article reflects on the impacts and implications of the growing flow of financial assistance. The focus here is on Fataluku-speaking households, whose members have been particularly likely to work overseas and send remittances home.

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Indonesia

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Vol. 107

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Page range: 41-54

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2019-04

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Cornell University Southeast Asia Program

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