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Mobility, inequality and choice: Circulation on the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic

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The ‘mobility’ in ‘socio-economic mobility’ is no mere metaphor. Rather, it is indicative of the intrinsic connection between social status and the circulation of resources. However, it would be a mistake to suggest that mobility is an all-in-one solution to inequality. The question of who benefits from the movement of people, things and information depends on what choices are available to people, how they are able to combine them and whether those choices can be successfully deployed to meet the goals they have set. I show how the relationship between mobility and inequality affects the choices people make in their everyday lives. For Haitians and their relatives living in the border zone of Hispaniola, mobility is a necessary livelihood strategy, but it comes with problematic social and economic implications. First, I provide an overview of the relationship between mobility and inequality. Second, I introduce the field site, a poor cross-border region on the southern border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Third, I demonstrate how Haitians’ experiences of mobility and inequality affect their choices. I conclude by discussing how we can build a picture of mobility and inequality that responds more to the complexities of people’s lives.
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Keywords: Dominican Republic; Haiti; borders; choice; citizenship inequality; mobility

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Independent Researcher

Publication date: July 1, 2018

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  • Transient migration due to the global movements of people for work, study and lifestyle is part of everyday life. This journal thus aims to provide a platform that explores and investigates the complexities of transient migration and to map the experiences of the growing number of transient migrants as they engage and interact with communities that are linked both to their home and host nations. This journal seeks to look at the ways in which transient migrants cope with transience and how transient migration affects individuals and communities in this transitional yet significant period. The scope of the journal will include but not be limited to themes of belonging, identity, networks, nation, culture, religion, race and ethnicity, gender and memory while incorporating the roles played by various platforms to facilitate these themes such as media, politics, policy, economy and the creative industries.
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