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

  • Patricia Landolt

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Migration Europe Radar Arena Boulder 

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Copyright information

© Gökçe Yurdakul and Y. Michal Bodemann 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia Landolt

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