City livelihoods and village linkages
Tilghman, Laura Marie
MetadataShow full item record
Scholars have theorized that even as a greater number of Africans are migrating to cities they will continue to maintain strong ties to rural places of origin as long as urban economies offer minimal security or economic opportunity. In this dissertation I analyze two aspects of rural-urban migration and linkages in northeastern Madagascar. First, I analyze which aspects of contemporary Malagasy life may lead some migrants to change or weaken ties to their home villages and rural family members. Second, I analyze the role that rural linkages play in migrants’ urban livelihood strategies. During 12 months I studied the lives of 55 migrants originating from the Vavatenina District and currently living in the city of Tamatave. I used participant observation, structured interviews, livelihood and wellbeing assessments, and ranking exercises to determine migrants’ life histories, migration and livelihood strategies, and behaviors and values regarding rural linkages. First, I found that migrants with weaker rural linkages tended to be male, poor, Protestant, and had a spouse or parent who was from outside the Vavatenina District. I explore the influence of religion on rural-urban linkages in greater depth in a case study, arguing that as Protestant churches coalesce around a common narrative that demonizes select rural activities, migrants in turn not only abstain from these prohibited activities but in some cases have weaker overall linkages due to conflicts with family, smaller social networks, and ambiguity about future burial location. Second, I found that strong rural linkages were associated with migrants having greater stocks of material and financial capital, but that there was no such impact on social and human capital or food security. I use the 2011 clove harvest as a case study to illustrate the relationship between linkages and livelihoods, arguing that using rural resources as part of an urban livelihood strategy is not possible if migrants have not invested in relationships with rural people. I conclude that poverty alleviation and conservation policies in Madagascar would be more effective if they recognized the relationships between rural and urban people.