Bargaining over Remittances in Tajik Extended Families

In: Central Asian Affairs
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  • 1 Associate Professor, Department of Women and Gender Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • | 2 Former student, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
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This study investigates the impact of male labor migration upon wives living among their husbands’ extended families in Tajikistan. It studies the risks and choices available to such wives in bargaining for remittances, with a particular focus on the risks that daughters-in-law (kelin in Tajik) undertake when negotiating remittances with their mothers-in-law. This paper explores age and gender-specific norms in Tajik transnational families and their minimal opportunities for kelins to bargain and negotiate the risks associated with making “claims” on remittances by using Deniz Kandiyoti’s “patriarchal bargain” and Bina Agarwal’s household bargain framework, as well as extensive fieldwork conducted in Tajikistan. The study concludes that international migration and remittances have had a complex impact on gender norms in Tajikistan, with emerging new forms of passive negotiation by kelins unlikely to undermine patriarchal gender norms in their favor.

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