Nation-State Building Projects and the Politics of Transnational Migration: Locating Salvadorans in Canada, the United States, and El Salvador

  • Patricia Landolt


Transnational migration is a globalizing process that contributes to the destabilization of the historically contingent but by now naturalized isomorphism between the nation, the state, and a clearly bounded political community of citizens. Three interrelated social processes are connected to the spatial rupturing and reorganization of the locations of membership in the nation-state. First of all transnational migrants organize meaningful aspects of their lives across borders, live with their feet in two worlds, and in a very real sense perceive and experience the exercise of power by the nation-state as an extraterritorial social formation (Basch et al., 1994). Migrant sending-country states for their part have adopted policies that seek to rein-scribe migrant populations in home country affairs, as well as generating a discourse of the national community that includes both sites and people located beyond the territorially delimited boundaries of the nation-state (Glick Schiller and Fouron, 2001; Levitt and de la Dehesa, 2003). In turn, migrant receiving countries have initiated economic and social policy reforms that encourage immigrants to live transnational lives. This includes temporary worker programs that prohibit migrants from applying for permanent residence (Sharma, this volume), immigration programs that target transnational business people (Waters, 2002; Wong and Ng, 1998), and increasingly restrictive requirements for family reunification that impose long periods of physical separation on immigrant families (Bernhard et al., 2006). In effect, the practices and policies associated with transnational migration produce new patterns of inclusion and exclusion from the national community that will transform how future generations of immigrants experience and exercise political membership.


National Community Transnational Migration Canadian Immigration Policy Migrant Settlement Refugee Migration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aguayo, Sergio and Patricia Weiss Fagen (1988). Central Americans in Mexico and the United States. Washington, D.C.: Hemispheric Migration Project and CIPRA at Georgetown University.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, Benedict (1991). Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. New York City: Verso.Google Scholar
  3. Baker-Cristales (2004a). “Salvadoran Transformations: Class Consciousness and Ethnic Identity in a Transnational Milieu.” Latin American Perspectives 31, pp. 15–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker-Cristales (2004b). Salvadoran Migration to Southern California: Redefining El Hermano Lejano. Gainesville, FL: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  5. Basch, Linda, Nina Glick-Schiller, and Cristina Szanton-Blanc (1994). Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments and Deterritorialized Nation-States. Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach.Google Scholar
  6. Basok, Tanya (1993). Keeping Heads above Water: Salvadoran Refugees in Costa Rica. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bernhard, Judith, Patricia Landolt, and Luin Goldring (fall 2007). “Transnationalizing Families: Canadian Immigration Policy and the Spatial Fragmentation of Care-giving among Latin American Newcomers.” International Migration.Google Scholar
  8. Calderón Chelius, Leticia (ed.) (2003). Votar en la Distancia: La extensión de los derechos políticos a migrantes, experiencias comparadas. Mexico, D.F.: Contemporanea Sociología & Instituto Mora.Google Scholar
  9. Castells, Manuel (1996). The Rise of the Network Society. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  10. Chute, Tanya (2004). “Seguir Luchando/The Struggle Continues: Salvadoran Political Participation in Toronto.” M.A. Thesis, Faculty of Social Work. University of Toronto.Google Scholar
  11. Edwards, Beatrice and Gretta Tovar Siebentritt (1991). Places of Origin: The Repopulation of Rural El Salvador. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Ferris, Elizabeth (1987). The Central American Refugees. New York City: Praeger Press.Google Scholar
  13. Garcia, Maria Cristina (2006). Seeking Refuge: Central American Migration to Mexico, the United States and Canada. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  14. Giddens, Anthony (1984). The Constitution of Society: Outline of a Theory of Structuration. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  15. Glick Schiller, Nina and Georges Eugene Fouron (2001). Georges Woke Up Laughing. Long Distance Nationalism and the Search for Home. Durham/London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goldring, Luin (1998a). “From Market Membership to Transnational Citizenship?: The Changing Politization of Transnational Social Spaces.” l’Ordinaire Latino-Americain 173, 174, pp. 167–172.Google Scholar
  17. Goldring, Luin (1998b). “The Power of Status in Transnational Social Fields.” In Michael Peter Smith and Luis Eduardo Guarnizo (eds.) Transnationalism from Below. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Gupta, Akhil (1992). “The Song of the Nonaligned World: Transnational Identities and the Reincription of Space in Late Capitalism.” Cultural Anthropology 7, pp. 63–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hamilton, Nora and Norma Stoltz Chinchilla (1996). “Global Economic Restructuring and International Migration: Some Observations Based on the Mexican and Central American Experience.” International Migration 34, pp. 195–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harvey, David (1989). The Condition of Postmodernity An Enquiry Into the Origins of Cultural Change. Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  21. Held, D., A. McGrew, D. Goldblatt, and J. Perraton (1999). Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hernandez, Ester and Susan Bibler Coutin (2006). “Remitting Subjects: Migrants, Money and States.” Economy and Society 35, pp. 185–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hobsbawm, Eric and Terence Ranger (1983). The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hyatt, Susan Brin (2001). “From Citizen to Volunteer: Neoliberal Governance and the Erasure of Poverty.” In Judith Goode and Jeff Maskovsky (eds.) The New Poverty Studies. New York City: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Itzigsohn, José and Silvia Giorguli Saucedo (2001). “Immigrant Incorporation and Sociocultural Transnationalism.” International Migration Review 36, pp. 766–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Koffman, Eleonore (1995). “Citizenship for Some but Not for Others: Spaces of Citizenship in Contemporary Europe.” Political Geography 14, pp. 121–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Landolt, Patricia (2001). “Salvadoran Economic Transnationalism: Embedded Strategies for Household Maintenance, Immigrant Incorporation, and Entrepreneurial Expansion.” Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs 1, pp. 217–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Landolt, Patricia (2003). “El transnacionalismo politico y el derecho al voto en el exterior: El Salvador y sus migrantes en Estados Unidos.” In Leticia Calderon Chelius (ed.) Votar en la Distancia: La extension de los derechos pollticos a migrantes, experiencias comparadas. Mexico, D.F: Contemporanea Sociologia & Instituto Mora.Google Scholar
  29. Landolt, Patricia (2007). “The Institutional Landscapes of Salvadoran Refugee Migration: Transnational and Local Views from Los Angeles and Toronto.” In Luin Goldring and Sailaja V. Krishnamurti (eds.) Organizing the Transnational: The Experience of Asian and Latin American Migrants In Canada. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.Google Scholar
  30. Landolt, Patricia (2008). “The Transnational Geographies of Contemporary Immigrant Politics: Insights from a Comparative Study of Migrant Grassroots Organizing.” The Sociological Quarterly 49: 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Landolt, Patricia, Lilian Autler, and Sonia Baires (1999). “From Hermano Lejano to Hermano Mayor. The Dialectics of Salvadoran Transnationalism.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 22, pp. 290–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Levitt, Peggy and Rafael de la Dehesa (2003). “Transnational migration and the Redefinition of the State: Variations and Explanations.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 26, pp. 587–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Li, Peter S (2003). “The Place of Immigrants: The Politics of Difference in Territorial and Social Space.” Canadian Ethnic Studies 35, pp. 1–23.Google Scholar
  34. Lister, Ruth (1997). “Citizenship: Towards a Feminist Synthesis.” Feminist Review 57, pp. 28–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meissner, Doris (2001). “After the Attacks: Protecting Border and Liberties.” In Policy Brief 8. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Google Scholar
  36. Menjivar, Cecilia (1999). “Religious Ties and Institutions: A Case Study of Catholic and Evangelical Salvadoran Immigrants.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society 12, pp. 589–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Menjivar, Cecilia (2000). Fragmented Ties: Salvadoran Immigrant Networks In America. Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  38. Menjivar, Cecilia (2006). “Liminal Legality: Salvadorans and Guatemalan Immigrants’ Lives in the United States.” American Journal of Sociology 111, pp. 999–1037.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (2006). “Comunidades Salvadoreña en el Exterior.” pp. 19.Google Scholar
  40. Nyiri, Pal (2001). “Expatriating Is Patriotic? The Discourse on ‘New Migrants’ in the People’s Republic of China and Identity Construction among Recent Migrants from the PRC.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 27, pp. 635–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ong, Aihwa (2003). Buddha Is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, the New America. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  42. Painter, Joe and Chris Philo (1995). “Spaces of Citizenship: An Introduction.” Political Geography 14, pp. 107–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Popkin, Eric (2003). “Transnational Migration and Development in Postwar Peripheral States: An Examination of Guatemalan and Salvadoran State Linkages with their Migrant Populations in Lost Angeles.” Current Sociology 51, pp. 347–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Portes, Alejandro and Patricia Landolt (1999). “Social Capital: Promises and Pitfalls of its Role in Development.” Journal of Latin American Studies 32, pp. 529–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rodriguez, Robyn M. (2002). “Migrant Heroes: Nationalism, Citizenship and the Politics of Filipino Migrant Labor.” Citizenship Studies 6, pp. 341–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Schild, Verónica (2000). “Neo-Liberalism’s New Gendered Market Citizens: The ‘Civilizing’ Dimension of Social Programmes in Chile.” Citizenship Studies 4, pp. 275–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stack, Carol (1974). All Our Kin: Strategies for Survival in a Black Community. New York City: Harper Torchbooks.Google Scholar
  48. Stanton-Russell, Sharon (1995). “Migration Patterns of U.S. Foreign Policy Interests.” In Michael Teitelbaum and Myron Weiner (eds.) Threatened Peoples, Threatened Borders: World Migration & U.S. Policy. New York City: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  49. Vilas, Carlos (1995). Between Earthquakes and Volcanos: Market, State, and the Revolutions in Central America. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  50. Waters, Johanna (2002). “Flexible Families? Austronaut’ Households and the Experiences of Lone Mothers in Vancouver, British Columbia.” Social and Cultural Geography 3, pp. 117–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wong, Lloyd, and Michele Ng (1998). “Chinese Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Vancouver: A Case Study of Ethnic Business Development.” Canadian Ethnic Studies 30, pp. 64–85.Google Scholar
  52. Zilberg, Elana and Mario Lungo (1999). “Se han vuelto araganes?: Juventud, migración e identidades laborales.” In Mario Lungo and Susan Kandel (eds.) Transformando El Salvador: Migración, Sociedad, y Cultura, San Salvador, ES: FUNDE.Google Scholar
  53. Zolberg, Aristide, Astri Suhrke, and Sergio Aguayo (1989). Escape from Violence: Conflict and the Refugee Crisis in the Developing World. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gökçe Yurdakul and Y. Michal Bodemann 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Landolt

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations