“Transnationalism” is a term used in many disciplines: the social sciences, anthropology, sociology, international law, economics, feminist studies, and cultural studies. A prominent keyword in these fields, it is nonetheless a contested term. Although there have always been the transnational phenomena of migration and movement, transnationalism—as it is commonly used today—expresses a contemporary condition, one that is vitally associated with a post-Fordist economy, finance capital, and flexible accumulation. This is especially marked in the ways that globalized corporations, large-scale flows of capital and information, and migratory workforces have become more dominant within late capitalist modernity. In this context, transnationalism refers to a profoundly felt interconnectivity between people and places. It gestures toward the ways in which people, ideas, and goods traverse regions or nation-states, the interconnections of which have been intensified by twenty-first-century modes of telecommunications and transportation that enable the hyperswift crisscrossing of both commodities and capital. Arising from these processes, studies of the transnational tend to decentralize the nation-state as an analytic framework within which to study the modes of culture, history, and people that are formed and re-formed transnationally.

This essay may be found on page 232 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay