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  An ongoing series of cross-border movements in which immigrants develop and maintain numerous economic, political, social and cultural links in more than one nation (see also nation-state). Unlike earlier theories of migration and immigration, which generally characterized a movement across borders as one of either permanent rupture followed by assimilation in a new society, or as one of temporary \'sojourning\' followed by a return home, transnationalism describes a migration pattern of simultaneous connection to two or more nations.

Many scholars have linked this type of migration process with changes in the nature of capitalism (see, e.g. Blanc, Basch and Glick Schiller, 1995; Ong and Nonini, 1997; Smith and Guarnizo, 1998; cf. globalization). With the increased flexibility of production and finance in the global economy of post-Fordism, the use of both labour and capital has shifted dramatically in the last three decades. The rapid growth of transnational corporations and the organization of production on a worldwide scale has affected the flows of immigrants across national borders, and has led to a transformed culture of migration and to new kinds of strategies by the migrants themselves. These strategies involve both greater flexibility in terms of national and cultural allegiances, and greater fixity in the establishment and maintenance of a social field that crosses formerly regulated borders (cf. boundary; frontier).

One of the key components of transnationalism is the \'multiplicity of involvements that transmigrants sustain in both home and host societies\' (Basch, Glick Schiller and Blanc, 1996, p. 7). In numerous case studies immigrants have been shown to construct an intricate, multi-webbed network of ongoing social relations that span their country of origin and their country (or countries) of settlement (see e.g. Rouse, 1991; Soguk, 1995; cf. chain migration). These continuous social relations, moreover, have major implications for both the immigrants and their host societies. Migrant labourers have boosted the economies of many developing countries through their remittances to friends and family; the growing importance of this source of economic hard currency for the state has, in turn, led to more generous laws and policies governing the rights of the new transmigrants. In some cases, the state\'s attempt to capture these migrants and their capital remittances has extended as far as granting them property rights, health and welfare benefits, voting rights, and even dual citizenship (Guarnizo, 1994).

For transmigrants of the wealthy classes, often called the \'transnational elite\', the movements and allegiances formed across borders have had major implications for both international business and state policy. Transnational citizens, a new cosmopolitan class with passports to at least two countries, are occasionally able to manipulate local laws and cultures in ways that can greatly influence both business opportunities and the philosophical foundations of local and national cultural norms. Their impact can be felt in areas as divergent as neighbourhood struggles over zoning, and federal laws regulating the disclosure of overseas assets (Hannerz, 1990; Mitchell, 1997a).

Both transnational labourers and the transnational élite have influenced current debates on the meaning of citizenship and on the viability of state control over the new global flows characteristic of late capitalism. The concept of transnationalism itself is often invoked by those seeking a middle ground between proclamations of the death of the state and exaggerated claims of its ongoing vitality. Its conceptual position as a site of fluidity, hybridity and \'in-betweenness\' (in-between nations and in-between theoretical positions) has made it a dominant leitmotif in post-colonialism, where many theorists have written of the liberatory potential of positions of transience, hybridity and ambiguity (e.g. Bhabha, 1994). This, in turn, has led to greater calls for empirically grounded research in which the actual geographies of transnationalism are made manifest (Mitchell, 1997b). (KM)

References Bhabha, H. 1994: DissemiNation: time, narrative and the margins of the modern nation. The location of culture. New York: Routledge, 139-7 0. Basch, L., Glick Schiller, N. and Blanc, C. 1996: Nations unbound: transnational projects, postcolonial predicaments and deterritorialized nation-states. New York: Gordon and Brea ch. Blanc, C., Basch, L. and Glick Schiller, N., eds, 1995: Transnationalism, nation-states and culture. Current Anthropology 36 (4): 683-6. Guarnizo, L. 1994: Los Dominicanyorks: the making of a binational society. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 533: 70-86. Hannerz, U. 1990: Cosmo — politans and locals in world culture. Theory, Culture and Society 7: 2-3. Mitchell, K. 1997a: Conflicting geographies of democracy and the public sphere in Vancouver, B.C. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 22: 162-79. Mitchell, K. 1997b: Transnational discourse: bringing geography back in. Antipode 29 (2): 101-1 4. Ong, A. and Nonini, D., eds, 1997: Ungrounded empires: the cultural politics of modern Chinese transnationalism. New York and London: Routledge. Rouse, R. 1991: Mexican migration and the social space of postmodernism. Diaspora, Spring: 8-34. Smith, P.S. and Guarnizo, L., eds, 1998: Transnationalism from below. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. Soguk, N. 1995: Transnational/transborder bodies: resistance, accommodation, and exile in refugee and migration movements on the U.S.-Mexican border. In M. Shapiro and J. Alker, eds, Challenging boundaries: global flows, territorial identities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 285-323.

Suggested Reading Ang, I. and Stratton, J., eds, 1996: Asianing Australia: notes toward a critical transnationalism in cultural studies. Cultural Studies 10 (1): 16-36. Lavie, S. and Swedenburg, T. 1996: Displacement, diaspora, and geographies of identity. Durham: Duke University Press. Wilson, R. and Dissanayake, W., eds, 1996: Global/ local: cultural production and the transnational imaginary. Durham and London: Duke University Press.



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