Transnationalism and Urbanism (Routledge Research in Transnationalism)

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It is not surprising in this context that religious and political leaders come from Senegal to visit their followers and potential followers. It is crucial here that most men the great majority of the Senegalese migrant population in Italy are men have wives and children in Senegal. There are few attempts to bring wives or children over: the norm appears to be a stably transnational family, often remaining apart for ten or fifteen years or more. Families are united only in Senegal during a trip home.

So the difference was not so much one of the strength of individual attachments.

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In this way, the School migrants were less subject to control, and less continually stimulated by news, less involved in attempts to intervene in village affairs, to exercise moral judgements on fellow-villagers, and so on. For Red migrants in East London, the sociological basis of the ability and the motivation to maintain active participation in village affairs even while living in the city lay in considerable part in the form of social relations maintained in the city.

Much of the discussion of transnationalism focuses too exclusively on the individual relations migrants have across borders, and on the legal and technological factors which facilitate or restrict such ties from border legislation to cheap air travel and the Internet. However, the social bases of transnational social units often seem more crucial. So now — as Conradson and Latham also argue — it seems important that the study of transnationalism should devote more attention to the practices which maintain communities, organizations and networks in being as viable realities.

And this means studying the practices which maintain particular networks and social units as living realities: it cannot just be assumed that, say, two cousins living in different countries will necessarily maintain relations with each other, or provide each other with mutual aid, thus producing a transnational tie.

Even less, of course, can it be assumed that two Romanians or Moroccans will necessarily seek each other out. It may be affected by the use of telephones, but the use of telephones is a more sociological affair than the mere technical possibility of telephone communication.

Empirical research in France on the effects of geographical moves on telephone contacts show that the existence of the telephone does not solve the problem of distance.

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In the case of the relationship of friendship, for example, it seems difficult to maintain the tie active after a move. Most contacts with friends — even friends who are described as close emotionally, and with whom telephone calls were frequent before the move — disappear after a few weeks Mercier, de Gournay and Smoreda, 7. The technical possibility of telephone contact remains almost unchanged after the move, and even the cost may not be great, but sociological conditions of telephone conversations include having something to say.

In general, telephone contacts between individuals are closely correlated with face-to-face contacts Claisse and Rowe, ; Smoreda and Licoppe, ; Smoreda and Thomas, , for many phone calls are about matters like arrangements for some meeting, sharing opinions about some face-to-face event, talking about someone else, with whom both interlocutors are in face-to-face contact, talking about what that person has done or should do.

It seems likely that friendships do not survive geographical separation well because the social context of activities and of shared events and persons who form the basis of the practices making up the relationship tend to fall away 8. In contrast, contacts between kin — even kin not described as especially close — tend to survive a geographical move much better: Mercier et al.

Evidently kin have more matters to discuss, and feel more obliged to call. From a configurational point of view, this is understandable, because many of the indirect contacts and exchanges through other relatives remain in place many of them face-to-face , unaffected by the move of one member of the kin network 9. Whereas the transactions constituting a friendship relationship the face-to-face relations with colleagues about whom one complains, the transactions at the school where the children of both friends go may disappear, this is less true for kin relations.

In the case of the kin network, numerous exchanges between individuals other than the two directly involved form the backdrop maintaining the tie. More in general, it seems likely that problems of maintaining a relationship at a distance are not primarily about maintaining individual ties but rather the general configuration which keeps ties active. Some of this is done consciously e.

Ruba Salih provides good descriptions of the amount of time — and worry — devoted by the Moroccan women she interviewed to preparations for trips home, selecting suitable gifts for individual people back home.

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The quantity of such gifts can be gauged by the fact that many Moroccan migrants return home by car rather than plane even though the latter would be cheaper in order to be able to take more gifts. The structure of social relations constructed by migrants in the place of migration is important in this sense. If socialists, anti-communists, nationalists, supporters of one faction or another succeed in making circles in migration where conversation, plans, quarrels with other migrants are all centred around these, then participation in the life of events back home is maintained.

Membership of these social circles in the country of migration gives meaning to passionately reading news from home. The everyday practices of life in the country of immigration make ties with the country of exile alive. As I have described, most Romanians and Moroccans live in Italy in networks restricted primarily to socializing with family members and a few friends But forms of action in Italy sustaining action and conversation connected with political participation in a community back home or in a political nation are rare.

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For example, among Romanian migrants, remittances are substantial and regular when parents are living in Italy and separated from their children in Romania, but fall abruptly to merely occasional gifts if the children moved to Italy CESPI-FIERI, So money sent back by migrants to their own parents, for example, was regular and substantial when the latter were looking after the grandchildren, but not otherwise.

As will be seen below, patterns of circular mobility also seem to vary according to the evolution of family ties in the life course. Once again, we can see the combination of weak associational ties, lack of collective as against individual remittances 13 , general pessimism regarding the possibility of political change and a scarcity of attempts to intervene in political life in the home country. For many Moroccans, as for many Romanians, religious centres are important bases for social life, as well as religious practice, places where one meets co-religionists and co-nationals one might not otherwise meet so often.

However, as I have indicated, manifestations of anything wider than kin-maintained practices remain slight. In particular, collective remittances and development initiatives are more common in France and political transnationalism more developed in Belgium. Schuster has suggested that this along with the need for many migrants to move around Italy in search of work explains the relatively slight development of associations among migrants in Italy; and, as I have stressed, strong associations, or informal community organization, are essential for many of the more developed transnational practices.

On this hypothesis, we might imagine that, with the passage of time, and greater job stability and economic security, more collective initiatives might emerge. In this way, we might imagine, in time, seeing, for example, the kind of co-development project described by Lacroix and others, funding the provision of water or electricity, a school or library to a village, or also attempts to influence the political scene in Morocco.

Not only today but also in the past, all the transnational practices described in France see Lacroix, Sall, Salzbrunn in this volume existed in Italy — from frequent visits of religious leaders to collective remittances to political campaigning for Senegalese politicians Carter ; Castagnone et al. Sri Lankan migrants also seem to have established very active associations at an early stage in the migration process see, e.

Palidda and Consoli, In contrast, Moroccans in Italy do not seem to have developed the early forms of collective remittances which were developed in France even thirty or more years ago, at a similar stage in the migration process. Lacroix cites several cases in which even in the first years of mass migration from a particular village, collective remittances contributed to projects — most typically building a mosque in the village, but sometimes a pump or irrigation system. These early initiatives are not only significant in themselves but also because they indicate a general orientation towards village concerns which was a key element mobilized by later initiatives involving associations and NGOs, convincing the latter to contribute.

It is not immediately clear why this should be different in Italy.


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However, patterns may be quite localized. The cases Lacroix documents are fairly localized mainly mountain villages in Berber-speaking villages in the South, and only secondarily in the Rif. One might ask whether there are large numbers of Moroccan migrants in France who do not have these kinds of village ties, and whether their transnational ties are different. In any case, with regard to the lack of such initiatives in Italy, it may be relevant that so many migrants come from large cities.

Although data on the particular location in Morocco where a migrant comes from are not very reliable because respondents may cite a nearby town they think Italians may recognize, large proportions of Moroccan migrants cite cities — especially Casablanca — as the place they come from. But the reply does suggest that these migrants do not instantly identify with a village. It would be interesting to know in the Moroccan case but also more in general more about how family reunion affects decisions regarding spending and saving, and orientation towards life in the home country.

Lacroix, Sall and Salzbrunn refer to the importance in France of political activists who were forced to leave Morocco in the wake of repression in the s.

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This little migration — no doubt going to France because of pre-existing personal and institutional links — was important in founding associations which are still important today, or which gave birth to others. Italian universities currently attract few students from abroad in general the children of national elites are rarely sent to Italy to study , and the numbers of second generation Moroccan youth attending university is still extremely low a sign of the continuing economic insecurity of many Moroccan families as well as the fact that a second generation educated in Italy is only now reaching university age in significant numbers.

In this context, the American literature on transnationalism may represent a somewhat special case, not applicable everywhere. These kinds of links producing elite migrants and contacts in the USA are not necessarily present everywhere. A country like France with significant links dating back to colonialism has more than Italy. I do not want to deny the existence of some initiatives, simply to note their small scale in comparison with business activity developed by migrants within Italy. Cingolani and Piperno and Cingolani cite individual cases of Romanian migrants managing small businesses e.

Vitiello , AMERM , Stocchiero and others describe cases of Moroccan migrants starting up small businesses in Morocco with government incentives, importing food products. Yet the scale of such initiatives seems small compared to the size of the two communities. But above all, the numbers of initiatives seem small when compared to the large amount of entrepreneurial activity Moroccan and Romanian migrants put into business based within the confines of Italy. Yet our interviews and qualitative studies by Castagnone , Gasparetti and Camera di Commercio di Torino found only fragmentary and occasional evidence of transnational ties in terms of suppliers, travel for business or investment in the home country.

Moroccan grocers may import fresh mint and coriander but for most of their supplies rely on wholesalers in Italy or France. These firms were mainly in sectors bi-national or multinational by definition, such as couriers, travel agents and importers, with a clientele primarily of co-nationals. In contrast, the small firms of Moroccans and Romanians in Italy are mainly in services and building predominantly oriented towards the Italian market, which they find more profitable and reliable. When driving back for a holiday, a good many Moroccans use the occasion not only to take numerous presents but also various items which are cheaper in Italy than in Morocco perhaps including the car itself , and which can thus be sold to acquaintances Semi, ; Saleh, For most people, however, this is an occasional supplement to their income.

It is true that a fair number of young men do undertake such trips more regularly, transporting cars, sometimes combining stolen goods with those bought second-hand. Lanz eds Transnationalism and Urbanism London: Routledge, pp. In the last three decades or so, transnationalism has emerged as a powerful concept to theorize globalization processes. This terminological modification was politically motivated and should accommodate the views of representatives of Latin American countries who argued that a multinational corporation was defined by the Andean Group of countries as a multi-state corporation jointly set up and operating under the auspices of their member countries.

According to that view, decision-making in multinational corporations was plural as compared to the centralized decision-making in a transnational corporation that originated in the US or in Europe. Although many still use the terms interchangeably, I suggest that there is much to be gained from recognizing the differences between inter-, multi- and transnational corporations see below.

The second and currently most burgeoning field of transnationalism research is constituted by migration studies.

In the last decade two more strands of transnationalism literature emerged. The focus here is on the work and live of leading representatives of the capitalist system such as the executives of transnational corporations, professionals mainly, but not exclusively in producer service firms, and bureaucrats and politicians.


  1. From Transnationalism to the Emergence of a New Transnational Research Field.
  2. The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity and Freedom?
  3. Some sociological Bases of transnational Practices in Italy.
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  6. The second new thread deals with transnational urbanism. Since this still rather small body of literature constitutes the point of departure for this chapter, I will deal with it in more detail in the following section. The rest of this chapter is organized as follows. After a critical review of the literature on transnational urbanism, I will develop my framework for conceptualizing transnational urban spaces.

    Subsequently, I will discuss the specific geography of these transnational urban spaces in cities, pointing out the relationship between global city formation and transnationalization. In the sixth section, a first empirical approximation is undertaken, taking the tallest building in Latin America, the Torre Mayor in Mexico City as a case study. Building on the research in migration studies and assuming the definition elaborated there transnational social relations are 'anchored in' while also transcending one or more nation-states , Michael Peter Smith broadened transnationalism studies by drawing attention to cities.

    Cities are, according to Smith, intersections of multiple networks of social relations at various geographical scales, to which transnational actors are materially connected through employment, political mobilization and cultural practices, or through the means of communication and travel, which they use for their transnational lives. Cities are therefore the places, where transnational economic, social, cultural and political flows become localized, and they are the places, where local economic, social, cultural and political practices become transnationalized.

    A second strand of literature on the transnationality of cities arose from urban history. One issue being investigated are the vast transformations which big, metropolitan cities in Europe and North America experienced at the turn of the 19 th to the 20 th century. That was a time when, as Rotenberg and Kenny have pointed out, in various cities a discourse on modernization, sanitation and housing reform emerged.

    This discourse was, at the one hand, the outcome of problems, which the cities shared and which arose from the parallel processes of rapid industrialization, urbanization, and polarization with the pauperization of the workers on the one side and the emergence of the bourgeoisie on the other side. On the other hand, the discourse on sanitizing of the city was produced through travels, a shared literature, international congresses and other forms of cooperation between urban reformers and municipal officials in Europe and North America.

    What emerged was a standard for urban reform e. Issues of sanitation, hygiene and housing were discussed in similar terms and implemented into similar planning solutions even in cities between which little direct contact existed. Benmergui identifies a similar phenomenon in a geographically and historically rather different context.

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    In the fast growing Latin American cities of the s and s, which faced at least at a first glance similar problems than European cities at the turn of the century, a discourse on modernization, sanitation and housing reform became an organizer of the production of urban space. Large public housing projects were built with external financing and in concert with bi- and multilateral development agencies. A third thread of literature on the transnationalization of urban spaces has developed around architectural practices. Presas' definition of the transnational building relies on the transnational character of key actors in the production and use of this specific urban space as well as upon the function of the building as a nodal point between global flows and local infrastructures.

    In addition, she asserts that these buildings belong to an international property market. The studies considered here offer constructive insights into how to conceptualize and to operationalize research on transnational urban spaces, and they provide valuable empirical evidence. However, they also suffer from some serious limitations, which I will briefly address in the next section. The first flaw, which is found in most studies on transnational urbanism that depart from migration studies, is the poor understanding of the spatiality of the asserted transnational urban spaces.

    Smith, who claims to draw attention to the place-making practices of transnational actors, comprehends space in a reductionist way, because he merely alludes to social relations and practices. I wonder, now, where is the space in these transnational spaces? Where is the city?

    To be sure, spaces in general and cities in particular are made by actors. Yet, spaces or cities are more than the social practices which constitute them. Thus, space cannot be reduced to a metaphor, because unavoidably it has material dimensions, which matter in people's daily life. Only if both dimensions are considered, space, its production and the ways in which it affects people's actions can be fully comprehended.

    Yet, in Smith's work the material dimension of the transnationalization of cities, the processes in which migrants produce transnational spaces through the spacing of, for example, concrete physical artefacts, remain as underexposed as in other contributions to the debate. Similarly, in Benmergui's debate of social housing projects in Latin America one might ask whether the optimistic discourse on modernization and development in the s really was of transnational character. Though leading representatives of modernization theory such as Rostow, Hirschman, Rosenstein-Rodan, Parsons or Hoselitz were either immigrants to the United States or sons of immigrants, I doubt that they had a transnational life as understood today.

    Moreover, their contributions to development theory were written in a time when they had established themselves at the most prestigious and influential US educational institutions such as the MIT or the Universities of Yale, Harvard, Chicago or Columbia. In building up my own definition, I rely both on Glick Schiller et al. In addition, my definition borrows from the notion that because there is no strict and unbroken hierarchy between the activities in different places, identities are formed in relationship to more than one nation-state.

    The various strands of the literature on the production of space also have the advantage that they suggest distinct perspectives as regards the scales involved in the making of geographies. In addition, the focus on the literature on the production of urban spaces also allows to include the making of symbolic dimensions of transnational spaces. Their human occupants endow environments with symbolic significance, with meanings. Finally, this envaluation of wo man-made material artefacts through people points to a further necessary broadening of the definition of transnational urban spaces, namely the consideration of their utilization and functioning.

    Who are the inhabitants and users of transnationalized parts of cities? For whom are they built? How do these people conceive the spaces they inhabit for shorter or longer periods of time? Having established that in an analysis of the making of transnational urban spaces the focus on social actors, their activities and their cross-border relations must be complemented by an assessment of the concrete built environments produced by these actors, I will return to the issue of social practices.

    My contention here is that these cannot be reduced to individual, subjective action. These principles are themselves the result of previous social practices which have become institutionalized e. For the study of the production of transnational urban spaces this is important because it helps to relate social practices, which are always spatiotemporal specific, to more structural dynamics of societies.

    The critical questions arising are: who creates the organizational logics that cross-borderly guide the production and the use of transnational urban spaces? Where does this production of organizational logics take place? From this follows a growing independence of organizational logic from the societal logic. Building upon this definition, in section 6 I will undertake a first and still very tentative empirical discussion of the Torre Mayor in Mexico City, the tallest building in Latin America. Before going into details of the production and use of the Torre Mayor, I will briefly reflect on the geographies of transnational spaces within specific cities.

    The particular geography of transnational spaces within a city is to a good part determined by the resources different actors command. Some of the practices of spacing, notably the allocation of material artefacts, depend critically on actors' assets and on conditions such as the price of land. These are characterized by a high concentration of producer service firms and by a very dynamic real estate market with booming constructing activity, soaring prices and the massive inflow of foreign investment. The hint at the intersections between the networks of global cities and global commodities is particularly important for the purpose of this paper, because both networks are constituted and maintained by actors which in various ways can be characterized as transnational.

    The Torre Mayor is located on the Paseo de la Reforma, at the crossroads with the Circuito Interior, one of the city's main transportation corridors. Paseo de la Reforma has been for long one of the principal avenues in Mexico City, which was at the heart of the traditional CBD. Yet, different to other parts of the old CBD, the Paseo de la Reforma is very recently undergoing processes of massive upgrading through the construction of new office towers and luxury apartments.

    The Torre Mayor opened in This suggests both a circularity of interpretations and the importance of changing power relations. The New Sweden Colony is often regarded as an anomaly in the context of 17th century Swedish politics and in the context of other European colonies in America. Equally, the colony's importance in the historical narrative of early modern Sweden and colonial America has been modest. However, more recent research on Scandinavian involvement in the Atlantic economy and early modern politics at home and abroad shows that Sweden was actively involved in producing and advancing a colonial agenda and that the relatively short-lived colonial venture in America had long-term effects and consequences.

    Informed by postcolonial approaches the article examines colonial rhetoric and logic underlying the interactions between the Swedes and the Native Americans and foregrounds practices of the Swedish community in America. It explores the connections between Sweden and the Swedish community in America throughout the 17th and 18th century and the impact of these connections and this colonial venture in Sweden and America.

    This analysis sheds new light on the colony and its role in Sweden and America in the 17th as well as in the 20th century. In the winter of , Pennsylvania governor George H. Earle traveled to Sweden together with a state delegation, and made a stop in the small town of Bottnaryd—the birthplace of Johan Printz, a governor of the seventeenth century New Sweden colony located on the Delaware River. I argue that this commemoration, of a magnitude on par with New England tercentenaries, should be understood as thoroughly entangled across regional, ethnic, and national borders.

    For Sweden, though, this aspect was less problematic. Eventually, the commemoration arguably had more impact on Sweden than on Pennsylvania. Transnational issues in cinema cover a wide spectrum, ranging from the regional to the global. Besides a host of multicultural concerns, e. But transnationality in cinema is old news. One of the most prominent, yet least noticed in a transnational context, is Liv Ullmann b Already well established on stage and film in Norway, it was her acting in films by Ingmar Bergman that launched her international career. In a transnational context, it is also of interest that her activities range well beyond film into other fields, as internationally bestselling author e.

    Changing , , UN-ambassador, and film and stage director with an international outreach. But what makes Ullmann a particularly intriguing case is that she can be regarded as an auteur-star, whose function in many ways parallels the function of stars in American mainstream film. For if the underlying commercial reasons for why current American film is more than ever filled with international actors is that Hollywood is adjusting itself to an increasingly globalized film industry, in which most of the revenues do not come from the US any more, Ullmann in her time very much served a similar function for the auteur-fueled European film culture of the day.

    There are simply good reasons to assume that art house auteurs such as Bergman were no less commercial than their commercial counterparts, e. Partly due to the dominance of this US-centered notion of Western democracy, admittedly marginal images of Sweden and the Swedish Model were held out as a palatable alternative to US capitalism. In this genre, US media actors played a key role for the shift from the Utopian image of Sweden in the s to the more Dystopian visions of a welfare state in decline circulating from the s and onwards.

    While US criticism of Swedish anti-war protests is well-known, the time period from to the assassination of Palme in has not been studied. This article therefore follows the active but largely unofficial American Sweden-criticism and the official Swedish tracking of this publicity, its reception in Sweden, and various Swedish attempts at affecting the image of Sweden in the USA. During the twenty-first century, Swedish crime fiction became an international phenomenon and turned into a million-dollar industry.

    Besides being translated all over the world, the crime novels are converted into movies and TV series in Sweden, while remakes of these films are produced abroad. This article investigates how domestic literature is marketed in a globalized book market. The article explores how these bestsellers are represented and designed to catch attention and attract a reader in a foreign setting.


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    How is a visual story created by marketing strategies, through jacket designs and promotional images? How do these strategies create a global imaginary and put the book itself into play with other media? The article adapts a comparative perspective to illuminate similarities and differences between marketing strategies in a transnational context. Hughes and Sarah R. Reprinted with permission by Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier. Irom argues that these disjunctures effect an unsettled and ambivalent series of counternarratives with unstable relations to power structures.



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