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Transnational Mobilities, Migration Research and Intersectionality

Transnational Mobilities, Migration Research and Intersectionality

Transnational migration studies need to be framed within a contextual, dynamic and processual analysis that recognises the interconnectedness of different identities and hierarchical structures relating to, for example, gender, ethnicity, ‘race’ and class at different levels in society. This article looks at a range of problematic issues in migration studies while also engaging with migration as a gendered phenomenon. I propose a particular analytical sensitivity, which attends to the centrality of power and social hierarchy, building on the idea of intersectionality as a heuristic device. Finally, I consider the potential of using a translocational lens, which is also able to pay attention to the challenges posed by transnationalism.

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The Transferability and Mobilisability of Transnational Resources:
The case of Turkish entrepreneurs in Finland

Abstract

The article presents results from research on migrant entrepreneurs from Turkey in Finland. Previous research on migrant entrepreneurship indicates that transnational ties may play a role in the running of migrant businesses. In this article, I argue that there is a need to analytically make a distinction between the transferability and the mobilisability of transnational social resources. Distinguishing between the two concepts makes it possible to analyse the utilisation of transnational resources more specifically than a simple descriptive study of transnational ties would allow. To focus solely on the existence of transnationalism might overlook the fact that not all ties and resources can necessarily be utilised by migrants in a given social context characterised by unequal power relations. My research results suggest that a consideration of broader networks of power, including state policies, provides a key to understanding how transnational social resources can be utilised among entrepreneurs in Finland.

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Theorising Transnational Migration in Our Times:
A multiscalar temporal perspective

Abstract

As the world rapidly becomes a different place for migrants and non-migrants alike, this article asks whether transnational migration scholars have an adequate conceptual toolkit to address the temporal dimensions of mobility regimes. The article notes the way those who initiated the transnational framework for the study of migration conceptualised temporality, critiques the failure of subsequent researchers to adequately address the rapidly altering conditions of migration and offers a concept of multiscalar conjunctural transformation. A multiscalar conjunctural approach allows researchers to address both time and space. It highlights emergent processes of capital accumulation by dispossession and the ways in which such processes are culturally, politically, socially and spatially constituted as people around the world respond to multiple forms of displacement and reconstitute their lives.

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Phantasmic Devices: Wedding Videos and the Creation of an Imagined Transnational Community by Bulgarian Muslims in Spain

Abstract

For the Bulgarian Muslims in Spain wedding videos are a popular device for socializing, overcoming nostalgia and keeping pace with the news and events that take place back home in Bulgaria. The mediatization of the ritual allows an extension of the ritual across time and space. Watching the videos is a re-enactment of the celebration and has become part of the ritual itself. Subsequently, this extension of the ritual through a mediated device has led to its subtle transformations. At the same time, wedding videos and the particular mode of use produce a social effect beyond the structure of the ritual. They contribute to the extending and re-creating of a migrant community that spreads over space transnationally and temporally between the past of home and the present of life in migrancy. Drawing on ethnographic material and using the analytical tools of actor-network theory, the main aim of this paper is to trace the uses and effects of wedding videos for transforming the wedding ritual through postponing and re-enacting it on one hand, and for sustaining the phantasm of an imagined virtual community on the other. The broader problem that this paper seeks to address is the specific role that material devices play for producing social effects for migrant communities.

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Family Practices Across Generations and National Borders

Abstract

Part of the mobility and migration process, family relationships and mutual support are subject of various transformations. Spatial separation between family members creates a specific setting for analysis which leads to the necessity of understanding how family practices are arranged and developed across time and distance. The present study focuses on the dyad emigrated adult children and non-migrated elderly parents living in Romania and on the types of intergenerational family practices that occur between these dyads across national borders. Our analysis of family practices relies on tracing certain set of actions taken by family members in order to maintain, consolidate, and ultimately to display family solidarity. We consider here various forms of practices, namely technological mediated contacts, visits, time-consuming practical support and financial assistance. Analyses are based on the national survey entitled Intergenerational solidarity in the context of work migration abroad. The situation of elderly left at home, which provides empirical data about the relationships from a distance between elderly parents living in Romania and their migrant adult children. Descriptive statistics are provided in order to assess the flow directions, the frequency and the intensity of each type of intergenerational support. Our empirical evidence highlights that transnational support is asymmetrical and multidirectional. Results also support that intergenerational support and family relationships can no longer be theoretically approached in terms of a simple dichotomy.

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“Samira Doesn’t Live Here Any More”:
Somali-Swedes’ mobility as transnational practice

Abstract

This article explores transnational experiences within a group of Somali- Swedes, particularly how parents’ transnational practices are transferred to their children and how a transnational social space, built on close relationships on a global scale, is constructed. The readiness to relocate between countries and the implications for the children is illuminated. The onward migration to Egypt is highlighted as an example. According to research on Somalis in diaspora, they explain their propensity to move by claiming to be nomads, but this article indicates that it is also about their desire for better opportunities in combination with the cultural and economic marginalisation experienced in the West.

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"I Didn't Come Here to Do Housework"

"I Didn't Come Here to Do Housework"

On the basis of 13 in-depth interviews with Swedish women and one month of ethnographic work in the Swedish community in Singapore in 2009, this article examines how Swedish women, travelling from Sweden to Singapore as "expatriate wives" in the wake of their Swedish husbands, navigate gendered and racialised transnational spaces of domestic work and negotiating their changed identities as both housewives and employers of live-in maids in the household. How do the women justify their current division of labour in the light of Swedish national ideologies of work and Swedish ideals of gender and class equality?

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Stimulating Flexible Citizenship: The Impact of Dutch and Indian Migration Policies on the Lives of Highly Skilled Indian Migrants in the Netherlands

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between migration and integration policies in the Netherlands, diaspora policies in India, and the transnational practices of Indian highly skilled migrants to the Netherlands. We employ anthropological transnational migration theories (e.g., Ong 1999; Levitt and Jaworsky 2007) to frame the dynamic interaction between a sending and a receiving country on the lives of migrants. This paper makes a unique contribution to migration literature by exploring the policies of both sending and receiving country in relation to ethnographic data on migrants. The international battle for brains has motivated states like the Netherlands and India to design flexible migration and citizenship policies for socially and economically desirable migrants. Flexible citizenship policies in the Netherlands are primarily concerned with individual and corporate rights and privileges, whereas Indian diaspora policies have been established around the premise of national identity.

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Integration auf Zeit für ein Leben in Transition: Gesellschaftlicher und politischer Umgang mit den Herausforderungen einer segmentierten städtischen Migrationsgesellschaft in Muscat (Oman)

Zusammenfassung

Der Beitrag beleuchtet das Themenfeld „Internationale Migration und Integration“ aus einer nicht alltäglichen Perspektive, um den Blick auf die gesellschaftlichen und politischen Herausforderungen zu erweitern: Betrachtet wird das heterogene Zusammensein in der städtischen Gesellschaft von Muscat, der Hauptstadt des Sultanats Oman, die sich seit dem Modernisierungsprozess nach 1970 zu einer segmentierten Migrationsgesellschaft entwickelte. Das Besondere an dieser jungen dynamischen Zuwanderungsgesellschaft ist, dass eine (dauerhafte) Integration weder von omanischer Seite noch von Seiten der ausländischen Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer vorgesehen ist. Daher wird „Integration auf Zeit“ als eine alternative Form des gesellschaftlichen Miteinanders aus den verschiedenen Blickwinkeln der Beteiligten diskutiert. Zunächst werden einige konzeptionelle Überlegungen zur Analyse von Integration angestellt, um anschließend die gesellschaftlichen und politischen Rahmenbedingungen zu thematisieren, welche die Arbeitssituation der Ausländer in Oman reglementieren: das Sponsorship-System und die Omanisierungspolitik. Darauf aufbauend werden die Integrationsmöglichkeiten und -erwartungen der Migranten anhand der räumlichen Praxis am Beispiel der beiden zentralen Aspekte Wohnstandortwahl und Mobilitätsmöglichkeiten diskutiert. Die sozioökonomische Position sowie die Anerkennung aufgrund des Berufs- und Bildungsstatus zeigen sich dabei als die wesentlichen Kriterien.

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Transnationales ethnisches Unternehmertum. Das Fallbeispiel türkischstämmiger Unternehmer in Duisburg-Marxloh

Zusammenfassung

Transnationales ethnisches Unternehmertum gewinnt im Rahmen der aktuellen Debatte um transnationale Migration als neues Forschungsfeld der Migrations- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung zunehmend an Bedeutung. Im Gegensatz zur bereits viel diskutierten ,klassischen' ethnischen Ökonomie zeichnen sich transnationale ethnische Unternehmer durch ihre Integration in grenzübergreifende Produktions- und Vertriebsnetzwerke und Formen transnationaler Lebens- und Geschäftsführung aus. Der Beitrag zeigt auf der Grundlage einer explorativen Untersuchung über transnationale türkischstämmige Unternehmer in Duisburg-Marxloh, dass verschiedene Formen transnationalen ethnischen Unternehmertums im Hinblick auf akteursspezifische und strukturelle Merkmale sowie die Intensität transnationaler ökonomischer Aktivität existieren und diskutiert die Bedeutung des transnationalen ethnischen Unternehmertums für die lokale Ökonomie und die Stadtteilentwicklung. Es können drei ,Generationen' transnationalen ethnischen Unternehmertums sowie drei Intensitätsformen transnationaler ökonomischer Aktivität identifiziert werden. Die transnationalen ethnischen Unternehmer leisten einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Stabilisierung des Stadtteils und können Aufwertungsprozesse im Hinblick auf die baulich-räumliche Gestaltung und Imageentwicklung des Stadtteils in Gang setzen. Gleichzeitig scheint die Vernetzung der transnationalen ethnischen Unternehmer untereinander als auch deren Integration in Stadtentwicklungsstrategien und institutionelle Maßnahmen gering ausgeprägt. Es wird deutlich, dass transnationales ethnisches Unternehmertum als strategisches Potenzial der Stadtentwicklung bislang nicht ausgeschöpft wird und weiterer Forschungs- und Handlungsbedarf besteht.

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