A cross-border perspective on migration: Beyond the assimilation/transnationalism debate
Chair: Marc Helbling
Discussants: Adrian Favell, Gökce Yurdakul
The transnational perspective emerged in the early 1990s as an alternative to assimilation theory, gaining instant and wide influence. But curiously, the intellectual confrontation between these two perspectives was averted, as scholars concluded that persistent homeland engagement was fully compatible with hostland integration. This lecture seeks to pick up that challenge. Roger Waldinger demonstrates how a cross-border perspective, encompassing places of origin and destination and the flows of people, ideas, and resources between them, highlights the ways in which population movements from one nation-state to another generates tensions at both sides of the chain.
In the process, he will show how looking across borders paradoxically demonstrates the importance of the territorial boundary, as it simultaneously underscores the importance of dissimilation – the social and political separation of immigrants from the people they have left behind – yet also the ways in which alien status and alien origins at once impede immigrant acceptance by the people among whom they have settled down and provide opportunities for sending states to reconnect with nationals abroad.
Roger Waldinger is Distinguished Professor at the Sociology Department, UCLA. He works on international migration, its social, political, and economic consequences, the policies and politics emerging in response to its advent, the links between immigrants and the countries and people they have left behind.