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Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States: Essays on Incorporation, Identity, and Citizenship

Eric H Ramon; Mielants Margarita; Grosfoguel Cervantes-Rodriguez

Publication Year: 2009

Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States features a diverse group of scholars from across academic disciplines studying the transnational paths of Caribbean migration. How has the colonial path of the Caribbean influenced migration with regard to power relations, ethnic identities and transnational processes?

Through a series of case studies, the contributors to this volume examine the experiences of Caribbean immigrants to Spain, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as well as the United States. They show the demographic, socioeconomic, political and cultural impact migrants have, as well as their role in the development of transnational social fields. Caribbean Migration to Western Europe and the United States also examines how contrasting discourses of democracy and racism, xenophobia and globalization shape issues pertaining to citizenship and identity.

Contributors: Elizabeth Aranda, Mary Chamberlain, Michel Giraud, Lisa Maya Knauer, John R. Logan, Monique Milia-Marie-Luce, Laura Oso Casas, Livio Sansone, Nina Glick Schiller,Charles (Wenquan) Zhang and the editors.

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. v-vi

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Introduction: Caribbean Migrations to Western Europe and the United States

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pp. 1-17

This edited volume is the result of the colloquium “Caribbean Migrations to Western Europe and the United States” held on June 20–21, 2002, at the Maison des Science de l’Homme in Paris. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first post-9/11 conference held on Caribbean migration. The post-9/11 period is marked by “Islamophobia”—overt discrimination against...

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1. Theorizing about and beyond Transnational Processes

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pp. 18-40

In this chapter, I provide an overview of the developing field of transnational studies and the place of migration studies within it. I begin by examining the barriers that initially blocked the emergence of transnational studies. Briefly noting the emergence of four subfields, I suggest several distinctions that move us beyond some of the conceptual confusion that marked the...

PART I: State Policies and Migrants’ Strategies

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2. Colonial Racism, Ethnicity, and Citizenship: The Lessons of the Migration Experiences of French-Speaking Caribbean Populations

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pp. 43-57

No immigration can be viewed simply either as an idyllic passage toward an El Dorado or as an apocalyptic descent into hell. The realities of immigration from the French Caribbean to mainland France have never fit in totally with the golden dreams that once nourished the myths of departure from Guadeloupe or Martinique. Neither have they totally justified...

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3. From the Periphery to the Core: A Case Study on the Migration and Incorporation of Recent Caribbean Immigrants in the Netherlands

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pp. 58-93

During the first half of the twentieth century, most emigration from Suriname was essentially intraregional1—that is, within the Caribbean: to Panama during the construction of the canal, to the sugar plantations of Cuba, and to the banana crops in Central America. In 1915, Shell installed a refi nery in Curaçao, and Lago built one in Aruba in 1926. Since the oil industry offered higher...

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4. Puerto Ricans in the United States and French West Indian Immigrants in France

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pp. 94-108

A study of the Caribbean region reveals not only the differences between countries, but also the similarities that have resulted from a shared colonial past. However, while many fields of study benefit from comparative approaches, relatively few attempts have been made to write a comparative history of the Caribbean.1 One could opt, for example, as does the historian Marc Bloch, to...

PART II: Identities, Countercultures, and Ethnic Resilience

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5. Puerto Rican Migration and Settlement in South Florida: Ethnic Identities and Transnational Spaces

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pp. 111-130

Migration has long been a central component of Puerto Rican life. For the first time, more than half of all persons of Puerto Rican origin currently live in the mainland United States (U.S. Census Bureau 2006). For many years, New York City and other Northeastern cities were the most popular destinations for Puerto Ricans looking to escape island poverty ...

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6. Racialized Culture and Translocal Counter-Publics: Rumba and Social Disorder in New York and Havana

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pp. 131-168

This chapter analyzes the social spaces of the racially marked practices of “traditional” Afro-Cuban music and religion—rumba and Santería—in the New York area and Havana. I analyze these cultural practices as shaping a translocal counter-public constituted by multidirectional flows of money, goods, practices, and people, and where varied social actors in both places craft identities...

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7. The Making of Suriland: The Binational Development of a Black Community between the Tropics and the North Sea

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pp. 169-188

Amsterdam is an important city of the region we now know, after Paul Gilroy (1993), as the Black Atlantic. It has become so relatively recently: since the mass-immigration of people of (mixed) African descent from Suriname in the late 1960s and early ’70s; the more recent pendulum migration from the Dutch Antilles; and the even more recent immigration from a variety...

PART III: Incorporation, Entrepreneurship, and Household Strategies

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8. Cubans and Dominicans: Is There a Latino Experience in the United States?

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pp. 191-207

What we call the Hispanic population in the United States is actually a mixture of many different groups from around the world whose common link is language. As Hispanics become the nation’s largest minority (up from 22.4 million to 35.3 million in the past decade alone), it is increasingly important to understand not only the similarities but also the differences...

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9. Dominican Women, Heads of Households in Spain

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pp. 208-231

In the late 1980s and early ’90s, Southern Europe developed into a new migratory space for immigrant reception. This new space is characterized mainly by the presence of female migratory flows in response to a demand for labor to fill unskilled and poorly paid jobs in the service sector. Unlike industrial activity, domestic service, the catering industry, personal services, and sex work...

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10. Identity and Kinship: Caribbean Transnational Narratives

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pp. 232-249

The idea of transnationality as a feature of Caribbean families is not, of course, new. Rosina Brodber-Wiltshire (1986) first coined the term—the transnational family—referring to those bifurcated networks which were a feature of Jamaican/North American families, and has since been remarked upon by observers based both in the Caribbean and in North America, notably in the...

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About the Contributors

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pp. 251-253

Elizabeth Aranda is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of South Florida. She has written about Puerto Rican migration, Latinos in the United States, and race and ethnic relations. She is the author of Emotional Bridges to Puerto Rico (2006) and is currently writing a book about Latinos in South Florida. Margarita Cervantes-Rodr


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pp. 255-261

E-ISBN-13: 9781592139569

Publication Year: 2009