Entrepreneurial grannies: migration and ‘older left-behind’ in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Tanja Bastia, Claudia Calsina Valenzuela, Maria Esther Pozo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Much of the literature on migration, including that on the ‘left-behind’, is embedded in assumptions about the youthfulness of migration. In addition, most studies that deal with the ‘left behind’ focus on migrants’ children. Those that focus on the older left-behind often assume that this group of people is in need of care and assistance and that they are generally worse off as a result of the migration of their adult children. This paper challenges these assumptions by showing the large variety of situations experienced by the older ‘left-behind’ when their children seek work abroad. Based on twenty two interviews with adults aged 60 years and over carried out in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the paper argues that the very category of ‘left-behind’ is embedded with assumptions of passivity and helplessness. Older adults whose children have migrated have often participated in their children’s plans, by lending them money or encouraging them to seek work or further studies abroad. Far from being a burden, they continue to contribute to their families’ productive and reproductive activities well into their older age.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAgeing and Migration in a Global Context
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges for Welfare States
EditorsMarion Repetti, Toni Calsanti, Christopher Phillipson
PublisherSpringer London
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-71442-0
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-71441-3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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