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Language English View all editions Prev Next edition 2 of 2. Other Authors Safran, William. Sahoo, Ajaya Kumar. Lal, Brij V.

Chapter Twenty-Seven. Issues Of Identity In The Indian Diaspora: A Transnational Perspective

Subjects East Indian diaspora -- Ethnic identity. East Indian diaspora -- Social conditions.

East Indians -- Foreign countries -- Ethnic identity. East Indians -- Foreign countries -- Social conditions. India -- Emigration and immigration. Summary "This book studies the Indian diaspora from various perspectives. It will be useful for students, researchers and academicians working in the fields of sociology, anthropology, political science, geography, history, diaspora studies, South Asian studies, cultural studies, ethnic and migration studies. Contents 1. Notes Formerly CIP.

Includes bibliographical references and index. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Murdoch University Library. Open to the public. University of Western Australia Library. UNSW Library. None of your libraries hold this item. Found at these bookshops Searching - please wait This paper presents a review of the return migration literature as it applies to the English-speaking Caribbean. Most of the early immigration flow was part of a system of coerced one-way movement from Africa.

Later movements included voluntary immigration from India, Syria, Portugal, China and various parts of Europe.

Original Articles

Over time, migrations of all descriptions have been a fundamental force in the creation of culture and maintenance of Caribbean societies Conway, Common to the migration traditions which have become entrenched in the culture of the Caribbean is the desire of Caribbean people to circulate, but ultimately to return to their place of birth as a result of either wealth or old age Thomas-Hope, , , ; Byron, , , ; Marshall, , , ; Gmelch, , , This paper examines the emergence of a transnational return migration culture in the English-speaking Caribbean since The transnational pattern of emigration and return migration fits into the notion of Caribbean people being truly global sojourners who are tooing and froing in response to conditions in different locations.

Return migration especially was thought of as the final outcome of the migration process. This relatively static bipolar model is a simplistic and uni-linear depiction of migration and return migration which is not consistent with the realities of population movements in an increasingly transnational and interconnected world. These complexities, which characterize migration and return migration, are more aptly analyzed in a model that emphases migration as fluid and looping with an unpredictable backflow.

Transnationalism refers to the multiple ties and interactions that link people and their institutions across the borders of nation-states. As a descriptive category or social morphology, transnational groups are those that are globally dispersed but still identify in terms of their original ethnicity and relate to both the host states in which they reside as well as the home countries from which they or their ancestors originated. They are tied together transglobally through a variety of social relationships or networks.

Transnational diaspora communities are therefore characterized by combinations of ties and positions in networks and organizations that reach across the international borders to link people together. These communities are formed on the basis of dynamic social, cultural, political and economic processes such as those in transnational social spaces which involve the accumulation, use and effects of various sorts of capital, their volume and convertibility.

Migration and re-migration may not be definite, irrevocable and irreversible decisions; transnational lives in themselves may become a strategy of survival and betterment. Transnational webs may also include relatively immobile persons and collectives.

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Even those migrants who have settled for a considerable time outside their country of origin frequently maintain strong transnational links. These links can be of a more informal nature, such as intra-household or family ties, or they can be institutionalised, such as political parties entertaining branches in various countries, both of immigration and emigration.

This is partly a technological issue: improved transport and accessible real-time electronic communication is the material basis of transnationalism. Social and cultural issues are however equally important. Globalization is closely linked to the transnational changes in social structures and relationships as well as shifts in cultural values concerned with place, mobility and belonging. This is likely to have important consequences, which we are only just beginning to understand Bauman, ; Castells, Some identify more with one society or another while others assume multiple identities.

Hall has noted that the condition of the transnational immigrant provides for ever-changing representations or identities. In such an abstraction, Caribbean migrants can simultaneously belong to two or more worlds in a transnational social field characterized by its interconnectivity New York, Port of Spain, Toronto, Bridgetown, London or Kingston. Caribbean migrants might base their allegiances on a fluid definition of where family, kin and fictive kin are located.

Some Caribbean-origin people can now travel too and fro on any one of many passports quite seamlessly. These new legal statuses undoubtedly alter the mindset of many migrants living in the international diaspora, particularly in terms of where they can or want to live in the future. The new status opens previously closed doors for temporary or long term return to their place of origin without fear of any penalty or reprisals from the authorities in either sending or receiving areas. Many moved to free lands on neighboring islands or at least off the plantation property.

Most ex-slaves discovered that they could not survive without part-time or seasonal work on the plantations or at other places of employment. Circulation — a form of migration in which the migrant families live year-round in the home community while the migrant members of the family move away seasonally for work — became a part of the wider Caribbean culture. Circulation within the Caribbean region expanded further to include, for example, the longer distance movement to Panama in the late nineteenth century, the United States in the period of to , Britain in the s, and Canada and the United States again from the late s to the present.

The longer distance moves were associated with longer-term residence abroad and in some cases led to permanent settlement abroad. The formation of large Caribbean-origin migrant communities in these cities and the resources that such immigrant communities provided to new migrants strengthened and transformed the Caribbean culture of migration. In effect, what began as a Caribbean culture of migration expanded over time to become a diasporic Caribbean transnational cultural community.

Most Caribbean migrants who have legal immigrant status move about quite freely. Many make return trips to the Caribbean to vacation and to see friends and kin. Studies of Caribbean migrants and their communities in Britain, the United States and Canada have contributed in important ways to this large body of research.


They have examined the evolution of the Caribbean culture and practice of migration from colonial times until the late twentieth century Simmons and Guegant, These and other studies draw attention to the role of political, cultural and socio-economic forces from colonial times to the present in the formation of the Caribbean diaspora and the development of Caribbean transnational communities.

Previous researchers also point to the importance of occupations and activities that require regular and sustained social contacts over time, and across national borders for their implementation Guarnizo, Similarly, Williams , p. The very existence of transnational families does, in fact, rest on kin ties being kept alive and maintained, in spite of great distances and prolonged separations Reynolds, Reynolds, adopts the term cultural remittance to advance the theory of transnational caring about relationships.

Cultural remittance reinforces ethnic identity and is viewed as a sign of continued commitment to the kin left behind, commitment to keeping kin together, and keeping avenues open for temporary or permanent future return. Rather, Caribbean migrants take advantage of new opportunities, through travel and inexpensive telecommunications, to be simultaneously part of their home society as well as the society to which they have moved Glick-Schiller et al, ; Portes, ; Vertovec, Both the home and migrant new settlement societies are in turn simultaneously transformed by these transnational links.

Transnational social networks and communities among formerly colonized and still radicalized minorities are understood to be part of their effort to resist marginalization, radicalization, discrimination, exploitation and segregation in the countries to which they have moved, in their home nations and in the international system generally. The idea of cultural mourning has its origins in the theories of object loss as conceptualized by Sigmund Freud In most cases of object loss individuals are able to mourn their loss in a way that prevents derangement.

For Caribbeans in the international diaspora this might include Caribbean carnival parades in New York, Miami and Toronto. In this regard, the potential space serves as a platform where immigrants can begin to negotiate their adaptation to the new environment. Faist highlights the bridging function of social capital.

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This function occurs not only when groups are formed at home and overseas, but also when there is an active transnational exchange between these groups; that is, between migrants who are abroad and their families, kin and advocates who are in the origin country. Such transnational exchanges help the development of the origin community, even as these exchanges allow migrants to prepare for their eventual return and retain contacts with their family, kin, fictive kin, close friends, hometown or high school alumni associations. Over time, and because of technological innovations which have compressed distance, time and space; Caribbean sojourners have developed a unique idea of what it means to belong somewhere.

For many their identity and sense of belonging is situational and fluid. For others, it depends on how long they have lived abroad, how many return visits they have made, and how many relatives they have still alive in their country of origin. For others it may depend on the degree to which they feel a sense of acceptance and respect in their place of settlement and or what conditions their place of return is in.

These factors and many more all contribute in different ways to living a transnational lifestyle for Caribbean sojourners. These complex factors are unpredictable as to their importance or influence in the lives of individuals. What is most important to note is that most Caribbean-origin migrants in the international diaspora do to some degree or another live a transnational lifestyle. Most research on the phenomenon of return migration to the Caribbean region has focused on Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic — primarily because these Spanish-speaking territories have sent larger numbers of their population to the United States — more than any other country in the region.

As a result of their substantial numbers of migrants, these two locations have the largest number of individuals as potential returnee migrants Pesser, ; Muschkin, ; Grasmuck and Pessar, ; Guarnizo, There have also been a few studies of return migration from Britain to the Caribbean that indicate the significance of the social and economic aspects of the return phenomenon.

New Hierarchies of Belonging, Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, SOAS, University of London

Peach points out how each wave of returnees fluctuated depending on the booms and busts in the British economy. Davidson found that the returnees to Jamaica experienced a shock upon return due to the realization that the cost of living had risen alarmingly and there was neither work, nor housing. Philpott reported similar results of disillusionment for return migrants from Montserrat who ultimately went back to England after a short return period.

Studying the social adjustment aspect of return to the region, Taylor notes that there were differences in happiness and success between retiring returnees to rural versus urban areas in Jamaica. Returnees to the rural areas indicated much higher levels of satisfaction than individuals returning to the urban areas. In looking at the economic impact of returnees on the host society, Gmelch found that retirees brought with them innovations and investments which benefited the Barbadian economy and society.