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Changing rights and wrongs

The transnational construction of indigenous and human rights among Vietnam's Central Highlanders

Oscar Salemink

In the context of the conflict-ridden relationship with the Vietnamese state and the growing transnational interference by their vociferous diaspora, this paper analyzes particular shifts in the framing of their rights. A notion of collective group rights that are by definition particularistic and exclusive has given way to individual rights (especially religious freedom) that are universal and inclusive. Simultaneously, a localized and communal emphasis has changed to a transnational one oriented toward international fora. Local interests and aspirations thus come to be framed as universal human rights that pertain to individuals, rather than local rights that pertain to collectives. In this light, recent attempts to theorize minority or indigenous rights appear to be ineffective and will probably be counter-productive.

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The nationalization of desire

Transnational marriage in Dutch culturist integration discourse

Willem Schinkel

Dutch discourse on “integration” is currently characterized by a strong focus on the “culture” of especially Turks and Moroccans, two minority populations in Dutch society mostly of Muslim orientation. This article discusses the issue of the “import bride” as a case study of contemporary culturist discourse. It argues that this issue is problematized because transnational marriage is construed as circumventing loyalty to Dutch society and nation-state.

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Concrete transnationalism?

Bridge building in the new economy

Orvar Löfgren

In 2000 the bridge across Öresund linking Denmark and Sweden was finally opened. The bridge may appear as a classic, modernist piece of planning and technology, but the actual construction of the bridge coincided with the boom years of 'the new economy'. The ways in which the construction was organized and staged very much came to mirror some important trends of that new economy, including many of its buzz words. Over the years it became more and more unclear what actually was going on: a bridge construction or EU-invocations of a future transnational metropolis. This bridge project was densely inhabited by visions, dreams and expectations: there was so much this bridge could do. The article follows the various stages of the bridge project, from early dreams and plans, over the actual construction phase, to the grand opening ceremonies and finally the difficult transition into an everyday transport machine. I discuss the ways in which engineering and imagineering became intertwined and also how a transnational project like this made the nation state more visible and tangible.

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Narrow margins, stern sovereignty

Juxtaposing transnational and local features of Bolivia's crisis

Ton Salman

This article argues that the current Bolivian political crisis is ‘made’ both internally and abroad. Yet it is much more than a simple adding up of the two constituent factors: external influences are always mediated by local actors. Local actors turn these influences into meaningful issues and demands in the Bolivian political context. These actors, in turn, are co-constituted by external forces, as is the case with the prominent indigenous movements in the country: their self- awareness and identity politics in part depend upon support and discourses of a transnational nature. The fact that these indigenous movements insist on sovereignty and self-determination with regard to the use of Bolivia’s natural resources is a case in point. This demand, at the same time, is articulated in a setting in which this sovereignty suffers from tightening margins due to the external obligation to restructure both the state and the economy.

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British Indians in colonial India and Surinam

Transnational identification and estrangement

Ellen Bal and Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff

The authors present a case study of Indian nationalists who drew from a discourse on ‘exploited overseas Indian migrants’ to serve their own political interests. At the same time, overseas British Indians, in this case in Surinam, advocated the continuation of transnational relations between (British) India and Surinam in order to strengthen the position of their community locally. Clearly, for some time, transnational identification served the (national) interests of both groups in the two different nations. Yet the authors also show that when such transnational ‘solutions’ did not serve any longer to solve local problems, estrangement between the two communities followed. Theoretically, this article constitutes a synthesis of approaches that connect identities to specific places and theories that have abandoned the study of geographically-based national societies. It demonstrates how the politics of place is dominant even within the field of transnational alliances.

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Sheila Trahar

Transnational higher education is the term that is most commonly used to describe programmes that allow students to obtain a degree from an overseas university in their local context. Such programmes are often marketed on their similarity with those offered at home by the overseas university. Perhaps as a consequence, the related literature focuses on 'problems' that are encountered in the 'other' environment, particularly when academic staff travel to the host country to deliver the teaching. Transnational programmes, however, offer rich opportunities for developing cultural capability in students and academics through a sensitively internationalised curriculum. This article uses an autoethnographic approach to discuss teaching and learning in transnational programmes that are delivered in a postcolonial context (Hong Kong) by a university that is in the former colonising country (U.K.). Its aim is to illustrate how, by embracing the complexities, transnational higher education programmes can enrich learning and teaching in both the host and the home context.

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Transnational Public Spheres from 'Above' and from 'Below'

Feminist Networks across the Middle East and Europe

Ruba Salih

This article examines the emergence of transnational public spheres brought about by women activists in diasporas and countries of origin across Europe and the Middle East. Such activism can take various forms - networks, partnerships, transnational mobilisations against war or for advocacy - which, in turn, have an impact on the ability to provide women with new paths to emancipation. Although globalising states and societies are becoming more interconnected, demarcating inequalities and forms of governance still exist. Parameters based on territoriality and national citizenship reinforce the unequal access to resources that women experience around the globe and thus have a hand in shaping women's agendas. The article concludes that although women may be able to acquire empowering tools through feminist transnational networks, these tools are not always capable of dismantling boundaries or weakening old hierarchies.

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Viv Caruana and Catherine Montgomery

This article presents a comprehensive review of research on transnational higher education published between 2006 and 2014. It aims to provide an overview of a highly complex field that is both nascent and shifting, with research developing unevenly and concentrated in particular areas. This overview will enable academics working in transnational higher education to place their practice in the wider context of socio-political and cultural discourses. The review adopts the concept of positionality, which defines individuals and/or groups not in terms of fixed identities but by their shifting location within networks of relationships as a means of understanding the changing landscape.

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Global Heimat

(Post)Migrant Productions of Transnational Space

Regina Römhild

With reference to anthropologist Ina-Maria Greverus’ pioneering analyses of human-environment relations since the 1970s, the article pushes the idea of Heimat further to the more processual concept of Beheimatung. This is especially relevant for an anthropology of the transnational worlds of (post-)migrant societies with their current negotiation of cross-border migration in the present and concerning colonial objects from the past in museums.

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Katja Sarmiento-Mirwaldt

This article considers Germans' relationships with other nations from a perspective of methodological cosmopolitanism. It examines the claim that everincreasing contacts with members of different nations can bring about a sense of trust in these nations. Using data from a 2006 opinion poll, it analyzes Germans' contact with and trust in six other nations. The study suggests that Germany as a whole is too large as a level of analysis. Germans' transnational relationships are better examined at a subnational level such as political districts. It is shown that transnational contact is particularly likely to occur in border regions and in parts of Germany with a high proportion of foreign residents. The two types of contact, however, have a differential effect on Germans' trust in other nations. Cross-border contact appears to be influenced by Germany's long-standing relationships with its western allies, since such contact has a positive effect on trust in western nations but not eastern ones. Conversely, multicultural contact with immigrant communities has a generally positive effect on levels of trust in other nations.