Transnational migration

Authored by: Ayse Caglar

Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138794313
eBook ISBN: 9781315759302
Adobe ISBN: 9781317638773

10.4324/9781315759302.ch5

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Abstract

The early 1990s witnessed the emergence of a new paradigm in migration scholarship. A group of scholars (mainly in the US, then also in Europe), drawing attention to the failure of conventional theories of migration to capture migrants’ sustained cross-border multi-level and multi-local ties, activities and networks (Kearney 1991; Rouse 1992), coined the term ‘transnational migration’ for a new paradigm to study contemporary migration across the borders of nation-states (Glick-Schiller et al. 1992; Basch et al. 1994). The proponents of this new perspective argued against the either/or logic of assimilation theories of migration (Gordon 1964), which assumed and predicted that successful assimilation of (im)migrants into the country of settlement required a break with their past experience and ties to the countries of origin. Rather than a sequential and unidirectional model of assimilation, which portrayed migrants as ‘uprooted’, the proponents of this perspective argued that enduring/forging homeland ties and incorporation into the countries of settlement were neither contradictory nor mutually exclusive social processes based on an either/or logic (Glick-Schiller et al. 1992; Basch et al. 1994; Portes et al. 1999; Portes 2001). Moreover, migrants’ multidirectional and cross border networks and practices could not be considered to be confined to a niche as predicted in ethnic plurality models of migrant adaptation (Faist 2001). Instead, they argued, the migrants’ current economic, political and cultural lives, practices and networks (including families, power asymmetries and class) were reproduced beyond the national borders and could not be captured and analysed within the confines of nation-state borders.

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