Transnational Migration

Vic Satzewich

in Workers Across the Americas

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199731633
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894420 | DOI:
Transnational Migration

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The past twenty years have seen a call for a new transnational perspective on migration and settlement, in that traditional approaches social scientists use to understand individuals who move and settle abroad are no longer suitable for an increasingly complex world; concepts like immigrant no longer suffice because they imply a permanence to migration that no longer exists. Others claim that nations and states no longer serve as adequate units of analysis. The concept of transnationalism is said to capture more accurately the central features of immigrant and ethnic community life. This chapter argues that significant aspects of the literature on transnationalism demand historical correction: An interdisciplinary dialogue might help us to historicize general hypotheses, creating a more nuanced understanding of workers' local, national, and transnational lives. A labor history that pays attention to both the local and the transnational can temper claims about the unprecedented nature of contemporary transnationalism, particularly as it relates to the understanding of immigrant lives. Furthermore, a renewed emphasis on immigrants as workers instead of simply carriers of certain transnational identities and practices can establish a more complete picture of the lives of those who cross national boundaries in search of work, business opportunities, and better lives.

Keywords: transnational migration; immigration; labor history; identities; interdisciplinarity

Chapter.  3729 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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