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Peripheral Migrants: Haitians and Dominican Republic Sugar Plantations Samuel Martinez

Peripheral Migrants: Haitians and Dominican Republic Sugar Plantations

Samuel Martinez

Published March 4th 1996
ISBN : 9780870499012
Hardcover
256 pages
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 About the Book 

Peripheral Migrants examines the circulation of labor from rural Haiti to the sugar estates of the Dominican Republic and its impact on the lives of migrants and their kin. The first such study to draw on community-based fieldwork in both countries,MorePeripheral Migrants examines the circulation of labor from rural Haiti to the sugar estates of the Dominican Republic and its impact on the lives of migrants and their kin. The first such study to draw on community-based fieldwork in both countries, the book also shows how ethnographic and historical approaches can be combined to reconstruct patterns of seasonal and repeat migration. Samuel Martinez pays close attention to the economic maneuvers Haitians adopt on both sides of the border as they use Dominican money to meet their present needs and to assure future subsistence at home in Haiti. The emigrants who adapt best, he finds, are those who maintain close ties to their home areas. Yet, in addition to showing how rural Haitians survive under severe poverty and oppression, Martinez reveals the risks they incur by crossing the border as cane workers: divided families, increased short-term deprivation and economic insecurity, and, all too often, early death. He further notes that labor circulation is not part of an unchanging cycle in rural Haiti but a source of income that is vulnerable to the downturns in the global economy. Acknowledging various theoretical perspectives, the author compares the Haitian migrations with similar population displacements worldwide. As he shows, the Haitian workers exemplify an important, if seldom studied, category of migrants - those who neither move to the cities nor emigrate to countries of the North but circulate between rural areas of the Third World. Thus, this book serves to broaden our understanding of this lower tier of the worlds migrants.