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Processes of Spatialization in the Americas

Configurations and Narratives

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Edited By Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Hannes Warnecke-Berger

Where do the Americas begin, and where do they end? What is the relationship between the spatial constructions of «area» and «continent»? How were the Americas imagined by different actors in different historical periods, and how were these imaginations – as continent, nation, region – guided by changing agendas and priorities? This interdisciplinary volume addresses competing and conflicting configurations and narratives of spatialization in the context of globalization processes from the 19th century to the present.

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Salvadoran Transnational Transgressions: Remittances, Rents, and the Struggle over Economic Space

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Abstract: The massive and ever-increasing amount of remittances circulating between Central America and the United States gave rise to new patterns of economic activities, and thus to an entire new set of economies. In comparison to economic models of the 20th century, this transnational remittance economy does not necessarily rely on state interventions, bilateral trade agreements, or other forms of management of economies. It is not about developing a national economy, but fostering individual well-being. It is not about formulating larger development strategies, but enhancing further remittances in an intrafamily relation based on moral. First, this chapter argues that remittances are rents and create spaces of rent. These economic spaces are based on political power instead of free markets. Then, the chapter explores how different actors intervene in these spaces of rent and thus manage the course of the economy. Next, the chapter analyzes the institutional setting through which these transnational spaces of rents are hedged and argues that the management of the transnational remittance economy releases social pressure from elite activity. Moreover, the chapter explores how and on which particular scale these remittance-induced spaces of rents are politicized in order to capture a share of the flow of rents.

1Introduction

El Salvador is located in between North America with its hemispheric hegemon—the United States—and South America. The tiny Central American isthmus links both continental landmasses in geological and geographic terms. The map clearly points out that El Salvador is south of...

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