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Blurred Borders

Transnational Migration between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States

Jorge Duany

Publication Year: 2011

In this comprehensive comparative study, Jorge Duany explores how migrants to the United States from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico maintain multiple ties to their countries of origin.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents/Tables and Figures

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pp. vii-xi

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pp. xiii-xv

I incurred many intellectual and institutional debts during the writing of this book. During the academic year 2009–10, I enjoyed a sabbatical leave from the University of Puerto Rico. Raquel Dulzaides and Jorge Giovannetti kindly served as witnesses to my contract with the university. I would also like to recognize the support of my colleagues in the Department of Sociology...


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pp. xvii

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Introduction: Crossing Borders and Boundaries in the Hispanic Caribbean

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pp. 1-16

During the 1990s border became a buzzword in the social sciences and the humanities, including anthropology, sociology, history, literary criticism, and cultural studies. Scholars were increasingly disenchanted with territorially grounded concepts of nation, state, citizenship, identity, and language...

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CHAPTER ONE: Rethinking Transnationalism: Conceptual, Theoretical, and Practical Problems

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pp. 17-33

In the introduction, I distinguished analytically between a nation’s borders and boundaries. I also pointed out that diasporas usually remain connected to their nations of origin over long periods of time. As I stress in this chapter, transnationalism can undermine the state’s legal definition of boundaries by...

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CHAPTER TWO: In the Entrails of the Monster: A Historical Overview of Hispanic Caribbean Migration to the United States

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pp. 35-61

At the end of the nineteenth century, few people of Caribbean origin lived in the United States.1 Between 1890 and 1899, the United States admitted 31,480 immigrants from the “West Indies.” More than four-fifths came from Cuba. According to the 1900 census, only 0.3 percent of the foreign-born...

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CHAPTER THREE: The Contemporary Hispanic Caribbean Diasporas: A Comparative Approach

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pp. 63-80

In 2009 almost 7.5 million U.S. residents were of Puerto Rican, Cuban, or Dominican ancestry (U.S. Census Bureau 2010).1 This figure is equal to 29.8 percent of the combined populations of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Such large-scale population displacements have transformed...

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CHAPTER FOUR: A Transnational Colonial Migration: Puerto Rico’s Farm Labor Program

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pp. 81-103

Puerto Ricans in the United States have been dubbed “colonial immigrants,” as U.S. citizens who can travel freely to the mainland but are not fully protected by the U.S. Constitution on the island.1 Colonial immigrants tend to move abroad primarily for economic reasons, live in segregated quarters,...

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CHAPTER FIVE: The Orlando Ricans: Overlapping Identity Discourses among Middle-Class Puerto Rican Immigrants

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pp. 105-133

Since the 1980s Latin American migration to the United States has become increasingly diverse in its national origins and settlement patterns.1 Cities formerly dominated by a single group of Hispanics or Latinos2—such as Puerto Ricans in New York, Cubans in Miami, or Mexicans in Los Angeles—...

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CHAPTER SIX: Revisiting the Exception: The Cuban Diaspora from a Transnational Perspective

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pp. 135-152

In the foreword to the book that established the dominant model of transnational migration (Glick Schiller, Basch, and Blanc-Szanton 1992), Lambros Comitas acknowledged the Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz, and his Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar (1947), as an intellectual precursor of...

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CHAPTER SEVEN: Beyond the Rafters: Recent Trends and Projections in Cuban Migration

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pp. 153-167

In chapter 6, I argued that the contemporary Cuban diaspora is best understood from a transnational perspective. Here I focus on the Cuban exodus since the 1990s because it exemplifies many recurring themes in transnationalism, including the migrants’ efforts to remain in touch with their...

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CHAPTER EIGHT: Los Países: Transnational Migration from the Dominican Republic

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pp. 169-186

In the 1990s the Dominican Republic became one of the top migrant-sending countries to the United States, after Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China.1 Only Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and El Salvador were larger sources of the population of Hispanic ancestry in the United States. In 2009 the...

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CHAPTER NINE: The Dominican Diaspora to Puerto Rico: A Transnational Perspective

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pp. 187-207

Since the 1960s the secondary concentration of overseas Dominicans has been in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory with higher living standards than the Dominican Republic but with a similar geography, history, culture, and language.1 Although Puerto Rico has often served as a springboard to the U.S....

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CHAPTER TEN: Transnational Crossroads: The Circulation of People and Money in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic

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pp. 209-225

During the 1990s remittances became the second-largest source of foreign exchange for many Latin American and Caribbean countries, including Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, and Cuba.1 In 2009 the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB 2010) estimated that Latin American...

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Conclusion: How Do Borders Blur?

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pp. 227-233

The concern with shifting borders and boundaries, rather than with the contents of such spaces, is a recurring theme in contemporary social thought. As Hastings Donnan and Thomas Wilson (1999) write, this intellectual trend largely reflects political changes in the world since 1989, such as the fall...


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pp. 235-240

Works Cited

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pp. 241-273


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pp. 275-284

E-ISBN-13: 9781469602790
E-ISBN-10: 1469602792
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807834978
Print-ISBN-10: 0807834971

Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2011