Creative State: Forty Years of Migration and Development Policy in Morocco and Mexico

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Overview

At the turn of the twenty-first century, with the amount of money emigrants sent home soaring to new highs, governments around the world began searching for ways to capitalize on emigration for economic growth, and they looked to nations that already had policies in place. Morocco and Mexico featured prominently as sources of "best practices" in this area, with tailor-made financial instruments that brought migrants into the banking system, captured remittances for national development projects, fostered partnerships with emigrants for infrastructure design and provision, hosted transnational forums for development planning, and emboldened cross-border political lobbies. In Creative State, Natasha Iskander chronicles how these innovative policies emerged and evolved over forty years. She reveals that the Moroccan and Mexican policies emulated as models of excellence were not initially devised to link emigration to development, but rather were deployed to strengthen both governments' domestic hold on power. The process of policy design, however, was so iterative and improvisational that neither the governments nor their migrant constituencies ever predicted, much less intended, the ways the new initiatives would gradually but fundamentally redefine nationhood, development, and citizenship. Morocco's and Mexico's experiences with migration and development policy demonstrate that far from being a prosaic institution resistant to change, the state can be a remarkable site of creativity, an essential but often overlooked component of good governance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The strengths of Creative State are first to properly contextualize the history of emigration policies in Morocco and Mexico from the beginning of the twentieth century until 1963 and then to present two very interesting cases of collaboration between emigrant communities and state bureaucrats that took place in the subsequent forty years (1963-2003). Another strong point of her work is her bringing to the discussion the analyses by Mexican and Moroccan migrantologists that could only be consulted in their own languages. . . . Creative State will be a valuable resource in courses on migration policy and international planning, global cities, the global south, development studies, or transnational community development."—Journal of Planning Education and Research (Fall 2011)

"Anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the link between labor migration and development or in unpacking the conceptual black box of how and in what ways migrant workers play a role in shaping home country development policy has much to learn from this book. . . . This book makes major contributions to the literature in at least three areas: labor migration and development, transnationalism, and the public policy process. It is also a joy to read."—Janice Fine, British Journal of Industrial Relations (September 2012)

"The relationship between migration and development has long been a topic of scholarly and policy fascination, and no more so than today. For insights, scholars and students should turn to Creative State, a beautifully written study of Mexico, Morocco, and their respective migrants. Packed with fascinating material, all of which is presented in a compelling way, this book is an essential resource."—Roger Waldinger, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, UCLA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801448720
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 12/16/2010
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Natasha Iskander is Associate Professor of Public Policy at New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

List of Acronyms xiii

Maps xv

Timeline xviii

1 Introduction: Interpretive Engagement in Morocco and Mexico 1

2 Discretionary State Seeing: Emigration Policy in Morocco and Mexico until 1963 27

3 Reaching Out: Beginning a Conversation with Moroccan Emigrants, 1963-1973 60

4 Relational Awareness and Controlling Relationships: Moroccan State Engagement with Moroccan Emigrants, 1974-1990 86

5 Practice and Power: Emigrants and Development in the Moroccan Souss 118

6 Process as Resource: Two Kings and the Politics of Rural Development 157

7 The Reluctant Conversationalist: The Mexican Government's Discontinuous Engagement with Mexican Americans, 1968-2000 192

8 From Interpretation to Political Movement: State-Migrant Engagement in Zacatecas 236

9 The Relationship between "Seeing" and "Interpreting": The Mexican Government's Interpretive Engagement with Mexican Migrants 274

10 Conclusion: Creating the Creative State 305

Appendix: Methodology 317

Notes 321

References 331

Index 357

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