Transnational Ties: The Immigrants’ Continuing Relationships with Their Homelands

  • David A. Gerber
  • Alan M. Kraut


It has always been tempting to see immigration as a one-way, irrevocable step, which is best understood in terms of its finality. This way of seeing immigration makes for a particularly compelling and dramatic narrative, for it frames the immigrant’s life in terms of adjustments to wholly new cultural, social, political, and economic circumstances that may be conceived as challenging ordinary people to the core of their being. Individuals are seen as needing to solve a large number of practical problems in daily life, such as finding a new place to live and a new job and learning bus routes, banking and shopping practices, and mastering the habits and manners that govern public behavior. All of us can identify with such challenges, because each of us has faced them, if perhaps less dramatically, to one extent or another in our own lives. For different reasons, governments in host societies, too, have been led to see immigrants only in terms of the lives they must make for themselves in the places that receive them. The presence of large numbers of foreign-born residents has usually prompted fears among the citizens of host societies. Immigrants appear to constitute a challenge to the usual ways in which people understand one another, even if they are strangers to one another. They speak different languages and manifest different behaviors. There is always the fear that they might organize, gain political power, and force unwelcome changes on their new societies.


Dominican Republic Host Society Indian Government Indian Immigrant Irish Immigrant 
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Suggestions for Further Reading

  1. Arthur and Usha M. Helweg, An Indian Success Story: East Indians in America (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  2. Johanna Lessinger, From the Ganges to the Hudson (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1995).Google Scholar
  3. Linda Basch, Nina Glick Schiller, and Cristina Szanton Blanc, Nations Unbound:Transnational Projects, Post Colonial Predicaments and Deterritorialized Nation-States (Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers, 1994).Google Scholar
  4. Michael Jones-Correa, Between Two Nations: The Political Predicament of Latinos in New York City (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  5. Peggy Leavitt, The Transnational Villagers (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).Google Scholar
  6. Thomas N. Brown, Irish-American Nationalism, 1870–1890 (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1966).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David A. Gerber and Alan M. Kraut 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. Gerber
  • Alan M. Kraut

There are no affiliations available

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