29th Nov2012

transnational migration

by justinsprague

1) Basch mentions transmigrants becoming “deterritorialized” as nation-state boundaries are not fixed anymore (8). There is an increasing push to maintain forms of cultural citizenship for transmigrants in both origin and target countries, which clearly constructs itself in various ways, like transnational political participation in Basch’s example of the Haitian nationalists, or national identity through soft power, like music, movies, tv shows, etc. My question, though, is how is this reshaping citizenship for those still living in the physical national boundaries? If transnational interaction is increasingly more commonplace, can we reimagine citizenship and nationalism in the same way for both local and transmigrant bodies since digital networks are evidently lessening the geographical divide?

2) The notion of the city is troubling on the basis that not all diasporic bodies end up in cities. Bailey mentions this but does not develop the idea. When I worked with Refugee and Immigration services in Hampton Va, the families were placed in suburban or satellite areas to any big cities, and it wasn’t always possible to place people from the exact same region in close proximity (we had refugees from a range of Bhutan, India, and Sudan). If the city, or cosmopolitan space, is available for these subjects to be able to reimagine issues of home and cultural identity, then what does it mean for bodies with possibly no connections to others from their regions, or in the cases of many refugees I worked with, no means to connect with other digitally or to exercise their ‘discursive power’?

3) With the rise in various websites and digital spaces available for different diasporic groups to engage in informal citizenship and cultural participation, I wonder what this will look like for the progeny? For instance, my Koreanness is tied to my mother, grandmother, and emo’s (aunties). Now, with these digital spaces to engage in various cultural territories/nationalisms, children have a much greater range of cultural interaction outside of their immediate family/community, to even include streaming live television and news from source countries. Even further, the method that these sites (Indian-American Web and AfricanOz.com.au) have in attracting these communities differs, like creating a cultural ‘identity’ compared to attempts at fostering glocal nationalism. What are the effects?


Space: an abstract area that is imagined to be filled, bordered, territorialized, and exclusive. Permeable yet seemingly fixed, and takes many forms

Identity: formed from a series of networks, communications, and culture that establishes ones place within a network, nation, or community

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