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Abstract

Traditional research has framed Caribbean migration as a socio-economic issue including discourses on limited resources, brain drain, remittances, and diaspora/transnational connection to, or longing for home. This narrative usually presents migration as having a destabilizing effect on Caribbean families, households and communities, more specifically the impacts on the relationships of working class women who migrate leaving behind children, spouses and other dependents because of a lack of opportunities in Caribbean. This paper proposes an alternative view of migration as a source/manifestation of women’s power, where women, as active agents within the migration process, in fact contribute to re building relationships, families and kinship and social networks. This paper is largely theoretical and puts forward a model which the authors plan to use to carry out future research on the lived experiences of Caribbean women, as well as a framework of analysis for other researchers. The authors thus carry out an examination of the migration literature which speaks to the lives of Caribbean female migrants, both in the region as well as those who now make up the Caribbean diaspora. We offer a critique of the existing literature on Caribbean migration and propose a reassessment of migration using a methodological framework entitled Intimate Cultural Love Power, developed by one of the authors, to examine love, power and migration.

Note on the Author

Andrea Baldwin was born and raised in Barbados and describes herself as an all-round island girl. She is an attorney-at-law and transnational feminist, who holds a PhD in gender and development studies, and a M.S. in international trade policy. Dr. Baldwin is a visiting assistant professor in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department, Connecticut College. Her research interests include, transnational feminist epistemology, the use of popular culture for feminist activism, fat feminist activism, theorizing pedagogy as a form of feminist activism, and Caribbean cultural studies.

Natasha Kay Mortley holds a PhD in Migration and Diaspora Studies from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Jamaica, as well as a B.Sc in Sociology and MPhil in Sociology of Development from UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad. Dr. Mortley is a Lecturer and Research Specialist at the Regional Coordinating Unit of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the UWI Mona. Her areas of recent research work include: Migration and development, Diaspora and tourism, gender and development, youth dislocation and education. Natasha Mortley is the author of the book St. Lucian Women on the Move: The Impact of Gender Relations on Migration Decisions.

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