Based on research in Brazil, the author discusses three local situations of conflict and social protest, using a transnational perspective. She concentrates on the use of universal claims of Catholicism in local negotiations of religious change under the influence of different cultural campaigns. The clashes in question are divided into those involving local political problems and those concerning the religious domain itself. The analysis shows that in each of the cases—albeit with different intensity and outcome—the interconnection between translocal processes and the meaning and experience of locality has a significant role in the power plays and the formulations of religious or social protest in the local context.
Marjo de Theije
Women's rights and the transnational movement of Shan women in Thailand and Burma
This article explores the relationship between women, nation, nationalism, and transnational women’s practice through the Shan women’s movement in Thailand, particularly the international campaign to stop the systematic rape of Shan women by Burmese soldiers. Employing a feminist critique of nationalism, the article argues that transnational networks allow for the negotiation between national, local, and women’s identities. Whereas the authoritative power of nationalism continues to suppress and silence the transnational subjectivity of women, the Shan women’s movement represents a transnational attempt to contest the confinement of women’s subjectivities within the territorialized nation-state.
The everyday politics of female transnational migrants
This article considers the political engagement used by Moroccan and Filipino women in Southern Europe. It argues that immigrant women should be seen as active subjects rather than passive victims who accept subordinate roles both in their families and in the societies where they have settled. In order to appreciate the kind of political agency migrant women deploy, the article suggests two preliminary steps: extending the definition of the political so as to incorporate power and inequalities beyond political institutions, and adopting a transnational perspective so as to include the social fields encompassing more than one country in which these women operate. The article goes on to describe the different ways in which the two groups of women negotiate their citizenship rights in Southern Europe, focusing especially on how they negotiate entrance and rights to settle and how they try to improve their living and working conditions.
Escape, Evasion, and Resistance in France, 1940–1945
The rescue of downed Anglo-American aircrews in France during the Second World War highlights the transnational nature of this kind of resistance. From their training to their evasion, flight crews themselves experienced the Second World War without traditional national borders. Moreover, their successful rescue in Occupied France depended on the ability of civilian helpers to think transnationally and to operate with little regard for the nation-state. This article focuses on evasion training, rescue, and postwar attempts to honor civilians for their assistance to highlight these themes of transnational resistance.
What can Transnational Studies offer the analysis of localized conflict and protest?
Nina Glick Schiller
After reviewing the strengths and limitations of Transnational Studies, including its methodological nationalism, this article calls for the field to develop a theory of power. A transnational theory of power allows us to set aside binaries such as internal/external, global/local, or structure/agency, when analyzing historical and contemporary social processes and conflicts. Previous and current scholarship on imperialism can contribute to this project by facilitating the examination of the role of finance capitalists and of states of unequal financial and military power. However, Transnational Studies also must assess the contestatory possibilities of transnational social movements. The articles in this special section contribute to the development of Transnational Studies by examining past and present transnational constructions of locality, identity, authenticity, and voice, within social fields of uneven power. The articles also illuminate the types of transnational practices, conflict, and struggle that emerge. v
Carol Bohmer and Amy Shuman
For immigration authorities, the goal of asylum hearings is to differentiate between economic migrants and legitimate political asylum seekers. However, in the stories asylum seekers tell, these categories often blur. Nevertheless, the asylum process uses this differentiation to conceal inequities in the system, and to justify denials. This article examines political asylum as a transnational and culturally local process and argues that contradictions between protection and control underlie some of the seemingly absurd denials of asylum applications.
Localized globalization and battles over a cultural Islam
Johannes Gerrit de Kruijf
Contemporary cultural processes, comprising tendencies toward transformation and reproduction, are inevitably affected by the (re)formative force of globalization. Increased mobility and intensified interconnectedness have expanded our ability to recreate culture, enforce a redefinition of social realities, and transform power structures. Globalization has thus also had an effect on religious realms. Religious concepts, practices, and organizations everywhere are increasingly subject to transnational forces. This article looks at the intersection of these forces and the local powers that determine religious developments by analyzing contemporary Indo-Guyanese Islam as a manifestation of this connection. Rather than stressing globalization's universalizing propensities, it investigates how local conditions determine the relationship between growing interconnectedness and the development of Muslim faith, practice, and collectivity. It is argued that globalization stirs opposing processes of deculturalization and reculturalization in Guyana because of the economic, social, religious, political, and historical context in which local Muslims consume the fruits of transnationalization.
On Implications for Migrants, Refugees, and Scholarship
This article discusses the politicization of the transnational paradigm in terms of development and security, refugee and migrant regimes, and transnational practices. The analysis makes two principal arguments. The first is that diasporas and mobility in general have been both securitized and developmentalized. These two processes are intertwined but also contradictory. While migration is seen as a development resource, 'uncontrolled' population flows—particularly of refugees—are looked upon as security threats by states and policy makers. This duo-faceted approach is at the root of the politicization of the transnational paradigm. The second argument of this text is that this politicization and the neo-liberal mega-trend are also entwined, despite the fact that the scholars who introduced transnationalism to migration research saw it as reflecting a process of globalization 'from below'.
This article uses postcolonial scholarship to understand the knowledge and cultural politics that underpin Australian-provided transnational higher education (TNHE) programmes in Singapore and Malaysia. A case is made for TNHE practices to develop an 'engaged pedagogy' and 'ethics of care' as it relates to transnational students in postcolonial spaces. Through this, the article seeks to respond to broader criticisms directed at international education's limited engagement with equity and social justice.
Transnational Mobilities of Moroccan Middle-class Professionals in Istanbul
This article explores the ways Moroccan middle-class professionals residing in Istanbul have forged transnational connections since the 2006 free trade agreement between Turkey and Morocco. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the article finds that research participants embrace three interdependent mobilities – imaginative, corporeal and virtual. First, Moroccan television viewers imaginatively internalise images of Turkish society through Turkish programmes broadcast in Morocco. Then, Moroccan nationals engage in physical travel to Turkey, initially as tourists, but later also as job seekers. Finally, Moroccan residents of Istanbul travel virtually to keep in touch with friends and family through media such as online platforms and instant messaging applications. In this article I argue that users of virtual environments have developed into new transnational brokers, facilitating the spatial extension of border-crossing networks.