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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transnationalism is a social movement grown out of the heightened interconnectivity between people and the loosening of boundaries between countries.

The term was coined in the early 20th century by writer Randolph Bourne to describe a new way of thinking about relationships between cultures.

Transnationalism as an economic process involves the global reorganization of the production process, in which various stages of the production of any product can occur in various countries, typically with the aim of minimizing costs. Economic transnationalism, commonly known as Globalization was spurred in the latter half of the 20th century by the development of the internet and wireless communication, as well as the reduction in global transportation costs caused by containerization. Multinational corporations could be seen as a form of transnationalism, in that Multinational Corporations seek to minimize costs, and hence maximize profits, by organizing their operations in the most efficient means possible irrespective of political boundaries.

Proponents of transnationalism seek to facilitate the flow of people, ideas, and goods between regions. They believe that it has increasing relevance with the rapid growth of globalization. They contend that it does not make sense to link specific nation-state boundaries with for instance migratory workforces, globalized corporations, global money flow, global information flow, and global scientific cooperation.

Transnationalism designates a recent shift in migration patterns. Migration used to be a rather directed movement with a point of departure and a point of arrival. It is nowadays increasingly turning into an ongoing movement between two or more social spaces. Facilitated by increased global transportation and telecommunication technologies, more and more migrants have developed strong transnational ties to more than one home country, blurring the congruence of social space and geographic space.

Diasporas, such as the overseas Chinese, are a historical precursor to modern transnationalism. However, unlike people with transnationalist lives, most diasporas have not been voluntary. The field of diaspora politics does consider modern diasporas as having the potential to be transnational political actors.


Transnationalism vs. internationalism

Very careful distinctions are now being made between international or multinational relationships - between and among nation-states or agents thereof - and transnational relationships between and among individuals and other entities, regardless of nation-state boundaries.

Internationalism refers to global co-operation between nation states, and points to the affairs between nation-state governments, while transnationalism refers to global co-operation between people, and points to activities, which transcends national boundaries and in which nation-state governments do not play the most important or even a significant role.

Furthermore transnationalism often entails a vision of the obliteration of nation states to make way for a unified world government. Transnationalism is closely related to cosmopolitanism. If transnationalism describes the individual experience, cosmopolitanism is the philosophy behind it.

Examples of internationalism include United Nations, international treaties, international customs and tariffs regulations. Examples of transnationalism include NGOs such as Greenpeace or Médecins sans Frontières, global financial activities, global science research, and global environmental concerns.

See also

List of transnational organizations

Further reading

  • Appadurai, Arjun: Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, Delhi, India, Oxford University Press, 1997 - is critical of the construct of the nation-state and seek to propagate a greater use of transnational thought.
  • Barkan, Elliott Robert, ed.: Immigration, Incorporation and Transnationalism, Somerset, New Jersey, USA, Transaction Publishers, 2003.
  • Bourne, Randolph: "Trans-National America" in The Atlantic Monthly, #118 (July 1916), pp. 86–97, Boston, The Atlantic Monthly Group, 1916.
  • Cante, Richard C. (March 2009). Gay Men and the Forms of Contemporary US Culture. London: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0 7546 7230 1. Chapter 6: The World of All-Male Pornography. 
  • Dolby, Nadine and Cornbleth, Catherine. (2001) "Social identities in transnational times." Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p293-296.
  • Faist, Thomas, The Volume and Dynamics of International Migration and Transnational Social Spaces. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Guarnizo, Luis Eduardo & Michael Peter Smith, eds., Transnationalism from Below, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, Transaction Publishers, 1997.
  • Joerges, Christian; Inger-Johanne Sand & Gunther Teubner, eds.: Transnational governance and constitutionalism, Oxford, United Kingdom, Hart Publishing, 2004.
  • Keohane, Robert O. & Joseph S. Nye, eds. Transnational relations and world politics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Harvard University Press, 1972 - locus classicus for the distinction in international relations.
  • McAlister, Elizabeth. 1998. "Madonna of 115th St. Revisited: Vodou and Haitian Catholicism in the Age of Transnationalism." In S. Warner, ed., Gatherings in Diaspora. Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press.
  • McKeown, Adam: Chinese Migrant Networks and Cultural Change: Peru, Chicago, and Hawaii 1900-1936, Chicago, Illinois, USA, The University of Chicago Press, 2001 - offered a transnational look at Chinese immigrants and social links in the nineteenth century.
  • Pries, Ludger, ed.: Migration and Transnational Social Spaces, Aldershot, United Kingdom, Ashgate, 1999.
  • Rees, Martha, ed.: Special Issue: Costs of Transnational Migration, in Migration Letters, Vol. 6, No. 1, October 2009.
  • Robinson, William I.: "Beyond Nation-State Paradigms: Globalization, Sociology, and the Challenge of Transnational Studies" in Sociological Forum, Vol. 13, No 4, pp. 561–594, New York City, USA, 1998.
  • Sassen, Saskia: Cities in a World Economy, Thousand Oaks, California, USA, Pine Forge Press, 2006 - more detailed analysis of the transnational phenomenon, with elaborate examples, is contained in the writings of Saskia Sassen.
  • Tarrow, Sidney: The new transnational activism, New York City, USA, Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • See the trilingual (English, Chinese, French) Transtext(e)sTranscultures: Journal of Global Cultural Studies publication of the Institute for Transtextual and Transculural Studies, University of Lyon, France.
  • See the University of the Arts London Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity & Nation

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