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ANTH2129 L7 Transnationalism

Lecture in Crossing Borders: Diasporas and Transnationalism course, presented by Ashley Carruthers, Australian National University.

Ashley Carruthers

on 22 October 2013

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Transcript of ANTH2129 L7 Transnationalism

Transnationalism and agency
"dead" or symbolic ties to homeland
cultural identity contained within national multiculturalism (diversity within unity)
ethnic community model
"Live" and politically charged
challenge to host national ID
active engagment
life spans 2 national social fields
Global insecurity
multiple passport holders
pragmatic relation to nationality
“flexible citizens”
transnational bravado: “I can live anywhere as long as it’s near an airport”
strategically located families
identity built on the logic of economic globalisation?
L7 Transnationalism
transnationalism an updated version of diaspora that matches the rhythm of globalisation?
“immigrants live their lives across national borders and respond to the constraints and demands of two or more states” (Glick Schiller et al 1995: 54)
Transmigrants use their mobility to evade “localisation” in the nation-state
And take advantage of the immobility of others (Ong and Nonini)
e.g. HK investors in Shenzen
“the rupture of home ties or their transformation into sentiment rather than connection is … a central aspect of pluralist and multicultural imaginings of America in which immigrant groups are encouraged to preserve their culture, custom and identity yet be fully embedded into an American mosaic” (Glick Schiller et al 1995: 51).
transnationalism vs
e.g. Hong Kong transmigrants
Global penetration of capitalism
Unstable conditions in context of emigration
Deteriorating conditions in context of immigration
new possibilities of connectedness
Nodes connecting global cities
Transportation and communications
Lure of homelands [PULL]
Transnationalism and Globalisation
Crossing Borders
another "fuzzy" term
hijacked by popular discourse
"transnational issues"
"transnational migration"
weak definition
confuses international with transnational
uses the term to refer to any migratory phenomenon or identity
the "trans" signifies?
strong definition
"neither here nor there"
daily routine of social reproduction within two states
forms of substantive citizenship
Mutually exclusive?
Transnationalism a perspective that affirms the continued relevance of the nation-state (contra globalisation approaches that predict its withering)
Heightened nationalism in the midst of globalisation?
transnationalism and nationalism
transnational citizenship
Deterritorialised nation-state
territoriality shifts from a literal to a symbolic sense
diasporic “citizens” can be imagined to belong to a virtual national territory that exceeds the physical borders of the nation
re-legitimising the authenticity of migrant cultural identity?
Jean Bertrand Aristide referred to Haitians abroad as the country’s Dizyèm Depatman-an or “Tenth Department”, Haiti being divided into nine administrative regions or “Departments”
“Greater China” employs a similar sense of inclusive unbounded territoriality
structural need to recognise diaspora for:
access to hard currency (through remittances and Foreign Direct Investment)
knowledge and technology transfers
entry into overseas markets
even political influence in host nations via ethnic community politics
Transnational nation-building?
transnationalism from above
transnationalism from below
transnational professionals
transnational labourers
transnational refugees
transnational policies
the extension of state protections or services to nationals living abroad that go beyond traditional consular services
the implementation of symbolic policies designed to reinforce emigrants’ sense of enduring membership.
ministerial or consular reforms
investment policies which seek to attract or channel migrant remittances;
extension of political rights in the form of dual citizenship or nationality, the right to vote from overseas, or the right to run for public office
In 1990 the Mexican government set up the General Directorate for Mexican Communities Abroad
its formal goals are fostering links and mutual understanding between Mexicans on both sides of the border
transnationalism and diaspora: what's the diff?
So who are the transnationals? Prominent case studies:
Mexicans and haitians: settler labour migrants
Hong Kong "astronauts": professionals and investors
Filipinas in Singapore and HK: non-settler labour migrants (next week)
And maybe "Viet Kieu": working class refugees>professionals
let's compare transnationalism to some concepts we've already met
FoLevitt, Peggy and Rafael de la Dehesa (2003). “Transnational migration and the redefinition of the state: Variations and explanations.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 26(4): 587-611.

Ong, Aihwa (1999). Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham, N.C., Duke University Press.

Ong, Aihwa and Donald Nonini (1997). Ungrounded Empires: The Cultural Politics of Modern Chinese Transnationalism. New York, Routledge.

Fouron, Georges Eugene and Nina Glick Schiller (2001). “‘All in the Family’: Gender, Transnational Migration, and the Nation-State.” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 7(4): 539-582.
both raise issues of national loyalty
let's look at some examples of transnationalism from above
the "normalisation" of polygyny
Lang, G. & Smart, J., 2002. Migration and the“ Second Wife” in South China: Toward Cross-Border Polygyny. International migration review, 36(2), pp.546–569.
"territorialised" workers fight back
revenge of the border?
does transnational=postnational?
Battle for Citizenship
Full transcript