Transnationalism Bibliography

Question(s) addressed by the author and working arguments

To explore the ways in which gender and nation are mutually constituted within the transnational social fields that link homeland and new land. It is important not only to investigate the ways in which transmigrants reconstitute gender in transnational spaces, but also to inquire about the political implications of such reconstruction.

Feminist studies of the formulation, projection and normalization of gendered national identities demonstrate that race, nation, and sexual orientation are not only mutually constitutive but simultaneously actualized.

In the processes of identification women as well as men learn to draw on a set of tropes of blood, family, descent, and kinship that have been widely used by nationalists to substantiate both nation and state. Gender studies have taught us that in state societies, public and private domains are constructed and penetrated by the institutions and interests of the state.

Scholars of migration began to look seriously at social processes that were no encompassed within the borders of single nation-states. Transmigrants invest in their home country, send money and gifts to family, buy property, build houses, participate in hometowns festivals and perhaps in the renovation of the town itself. Many emigrant sending states are increasingly reclaiming transmigrants and their networks as part of new forms of nation-state building projects.

This transnational projection of the Haitian nation revives the 19th century equations of race and nation in which a nation is understood as rooted in blood ties rather than in national territory. While transnational perspective on migration is new, transnational migration dates back into the 19th century. Transmigrants differ from others who emigrate and settle abroad because transmigrants live within transnational social fields. A transnational social field can be defined as an unbounded terrain of interlocking egocentric networks that extend borders of two or more nation-states and that incorporates its participants into the day-to-day activities of social reproduction in these various locations.

The concept of transnational social field directs our attention to the ways in which transmigrants become part of the fabric of daily life in their home state, including its political processes, while simultaneously becoming part of the workforce, contributing to neighboring activities, serving as members of local and neighborhood organizations, and entering into politics into their new locality.

Transmigrants also must be differentiated from people who communicate, conduct various commercial, diplomatic, and recreational activities across nation-state borders, and imagine themselves to be elsewhere without entering into a daily routine of social reproduction with two or more different states. These people engage in engage in transnational processes but do not live within transnational social fields.

Because transmigrants live within transnational social fields, they participate in the daily life of two or more states. People living within transnational social fields may engage in social relations and activities structured by various non-governmental organizations that conduct cross-border philanthropic and civil activities.

While transnational connections of migrants continue a status system linked to the gender hierarchy of the nation and a patriarchal reading of nationalism, Haitian women have also been engaged in activities, including alternative forms of nationalism, that challenge gender and class hierarchies. The transnational terrain within which these women lives contributes to their ability to begin to forge new directions for their political energies, although they state their goals within the language of “nation.”

Conceptual references to transnational – transnationalism

Transmigrants, transnational social fields, transnational constitutions, transnational connections of migrants, transnational processes, transnational perspective on migration, transnational projections, transnational spaces.

Conclusions or Final Remarks

Nationalism can be understood as a “discursive formation,” a form of floating signifier, so that those who rally around the same flag may all share the same understanding of what the nation means and in what direction the national struggle should move.

Some transnational constitutions of the nation continue to foster ancestral myths that uphold cultural values t6hat subordinate women.

Because transnational social fields extend into two or more nation-stats, and because persons located within these fields experience positioning within more than one national project, contradictions about the nature of these struggles abound.