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Land Tenure, Migration, and Development: A Comparative Case Study

From: Latin American Research Review
Volume 48, Number 1, Spring 2013
pp. 133-154 | 10.1353/lar.2013.0003

Abstract

Abstract:

Comparative analysis of two Salvadoran towns with similar patterns of international migration but different historical land-tenure patterns reveals the emergence of radically different development strategies. Whereas in one case, mostly landed households with a history of farming commercially have been selling land and abandoning agriculture, in the other case, previously landless households whose members worked as sharecroppers before the onset of migration have been acquiring land and farming as much as possible. The opposite processes at work in these two cases raise important theoretical questions for both migration and development studies. Using ethnographic, census, and historical data, I examine how and why land ownership, under particular historical circumstances, conditions the impact of migration on development.

Resumen:

El análisis comparativo de dos pueblos salvadoreños con patrones parecidos de migración internacional, pero diferentes patrones históricos de tenencia de tierras, revela estrategias de desarrollo radicalmente diferentes. Mientras que en uno de los casos la mayoría de las familias han estado vendiendo tierras propias y abandonando la agricultura, en la otra comunidad, a la mayoría de las familias les faltaban tierras propias antes del inicio de la migración y han ido adquiriéndolas para cultivarlas. Los procesos opuestos en estos dos casos plantean importantes cuestiones teóricas, tanto para el estudio de la migración internacional como para el del desarrollo. A través de etnografías, censos y datos históricos, se examina cómo y por qué la propiedad de la tierra, en determinadas circunstancias históricas, condiciona el impacto de la migración sobre el desarrollo.



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