THE MIGRATION CONFERENCE KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
"The Other Side of Transnationalism. A Sociology of Disaffiliation"
In recent decades, scholars advocating transnational or diasporic approaches have made important theoretical and empirical contributions. They have highlighted the rich world of material and symbolic exchanges linking migrants with their sending communities across borders. Besides the obvious importance of financial remittances, they have stressed the enduring vitality of interpersonal connections, the cross-border circulation of normative models, consumption practices and emotional attachments (the so-called social remittances). In the same vein, diaspora scholars have stressed the enduring role played by emigrant communities, whose departure is sometimes quite remote, in the political and institutional lives of sending countries. These perspective have surely changed migration scholarship for the better.
The mainstream of transnational and diasporic literature, however, still cluster around the claim that a set of structural factors – from cheap airfares to ICTs - make today possible for many migrants to maintain meaningful and cherished relationships with their home communities over the long term. On the contrary, they underplay the significance of the strains and tensions arising from long-distance relationships, the (less known) mechanisms that weaken the motivation and willingness of the emigrant to identify with these relationships and to invest in them. The paper will explore the mechanisms that sustain the processes of migrant disaffiliation in reference to several social spheres and their role making stable connections between territories and expatriates more or less likely.
Professor Giuseppe Sciortino teaches sociology at the University di Trento, Italy. He is the Chair of SMMS, the migration research center of Trento University. He has been visiting professor at Haverford College, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Yale University and Malmö högskola. He is the past chair of the Research committee 16 ‘Sociological Theory’ of the International Sociological Association. Among its works, Great Minds. Encounters with Social Theory (with Gianfranco Poggi, Stanford UP) and Solidarity, Justice and Incorporation (with Peter Kivisto, Oxford UP). Professor Sciortino serves on the editorial board of Migration Letters and edited a special issue on "Survival Strategies of Irregular Immigrants" including selected papers from the 2010 World Congress of the International Sociological Association in Goteborg, Sweden. His research covers international migration, ethnic relations, social theory, and cultural Sociology.