Contrary to popular opinion, increasing numbers of migrants continue to participate in the political, social, and economic lives of their countries of origin even as they put down roots in the United States. The Transnational Villagers offers a detailed, compelling account of how ordinary people keep their feet in two worlds and create communities that span borders. Peggy Levitt explores the powerful familial, religious, and political connections that arise between Miraflores, a town in the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood in Boston and examines the ways in which these ties transform life in both the home and host country.
The Transnational Villagers is one of only a few books based on in-depth fieldwork in the countries of origin and reception. It provides a moving, detailed account of how transnational migration transforms family and work life, challenges migrants' ideas about race and gender, and alters life for those who stay behind as much, if not more, than for those who migrate. It calls into question conventional thinking about immigration by showing that assimilation and transnational lifestyles are not incompatible. In fact, in this era of increasing economic and political globalization, living transnationally may become the rule rather than the exception.
1. The Historical Context
2. Social Remittances
3. Reshaping the Stages of the Life Cycle
4. Making Values from Two Worlds Fit
5. When Domestic Politics Becomes Transnational
6. "God Is Everywhere": Religious Life Across Borders
7. Transnationalizing Community Development
Peggy Levitt is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wellesley College and Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.
"The Transnational Villagers is one of the finest empirical studies available of a phenomenon that is commanding the attention of scholars and policymakers--the creation and maintenance of social ties and dual lives across national borders. In this admirable ethnography, Levitt offers a glimpse of what the world of the new century might begin to look like. This book both contributes to the vibrant research literature on international migration, and challenges it."—Rubén G. Rumbaut, co-author of Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation
"Levitt allows her respondents to speak and to tell marvelously incisive stories that reveal the dislocations as well as the new possibilities associated with transnationalism. The Transnational Villagers is a major contribution to our understanding of the meaning of borders in an age when technology increasingly seems to allow humans to leap effortlessly over them."—Richard Alba, author of Ethnic Identities
"Levitt's study makes abundantly clear that immigration is no longer a one-way process, but a complex multi-faceted experience increasingly bringing together places of origin and destination. A must read for anyone interested in immigration and national development."—Alejandro Portes, co-author of Legacies: The Story of the Immigrant Second-Generation
"In her study of Dominicans living in Boston yet maintaining close connection with family and politics in the Dominican Republic, Levitt asks, do these new transnational communities mean something new for our long established expectation of assimilation to American society and if so, what? She truly breaks new ground in our understanding of immigration and ethnicity today."—Nathan Glazer, author of We Are All Multiculturalists Now
"Levitt provides an empathetic and rich account of village life and the lives of ordinary migrants, but also makes a major original contribution to social scientists' understanding of migration and the diffusion of global culture. Beautifully written, forcefully argued, and theoretically original, this book should be required reading for anyone concerned with immigration, globalization or development studies."—Mary Waters, author of Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities
2002 Honorable Mention for the Thomas and Znaniecki award of the International Migration Section, American Sociological Association
Honorable Mention for Best Book Award, New England Council on Latin American Studies