Transnational or Transcultural? Migrant Decision Making

Friday, January 5, 2018: 4:30 PM
Marriott Ballroom, Salon 3 (Marriott Wardman Park)
Dirk Hoerder, University of Bremen
The concept of “transnational” was a big step ahead over the “cultural baggage”-view of (im)migrants. But it conflated state and nation – states set entry-regimes, nations impose supposedly homogenous cultures. By asking which segment of a larger culture migrants left – by region and micro-region, gender and class, ascribed ethnicity and majority- or minority-status – and which segment and locality of the receiving state and society they entered, decisions to depart and chart a trajectory as well as input (or problems) in the social and economic environment of arrival may be approached empirically. Decisions depend on frames of power – self-decided labor migrants explore options based on trusted information, refugees have to run and can weigh options only after the flight. Their route of acculturation thus, at least at the beginning, is framed by different parameters. These parameters changed from mid-19th to mid-20th century when national cultures and state regulations increasingly attempted to control both culture and mobility.
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